The COVID-19 pandemic has affected small and medium enterprises (SMEs). To reduce the imapact, entrepreneurs and businesses have been advised to adopt pragmatic business models.
This was the main point at The Bridge Leadership Foundation(TBLF) virtual 10th Career Day Conference themed “The global economy: Adapting to the new normal”, held at the weekend.
Co-founder of Sahel Consulting Mrs. Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli, urged SMEs to adopt business models that would ensure growth, innovation, job creation, and social integration.
She noted that digital technologies were a positive enabler during the pandemic, facilitating business continuity and connecting people.
According to her, small businesses must adopt business models that are resilient to disruption. She urged businesses to plan for disruption to resources. She noted that Covid-19 would lead to loss of jobs, with consequences for youths.
To prepare youths for future challenges, she added that the focus should be on scaling up remote learning and work, as well as helping to generate employment and entrepreneurship opportunities.
Mrs. Nwuneli said there was a need for strategic partnerships towards empowering young leaders, and a special focus on economic opportunities and gender equality, while supporting cross-sectoral initiatives.
She said Nigeria needed coalitions and conveners to enable change for youth-led development across the country.
The plan, henceforth, according to her, is to use opportunities to catalyse impactful partnerships that support youths to pursue meaningful livelihoods.
According to her, for economic revival, the government and the private sector must develop enabling environments, that can effect systemic, sustained and/or catalytic change that will cascade down to having a tangible impact on the lives of youths.
The founder/BoT (Board of Trustees) Chairman of the foundation, Senator Liyel Imoke, said the body sought to attract and pool investment for youths’ education, learning, skilling, entrepreneurship and employment.
He said about 54,000 youths had benefited from the capacity building and technological innovation training of the foundation since 2011.
Imoke, who is a former Cross River State governor, said they had empowered the state youths with leadership and community development, teachers’ support and transformational mentoring skills.
He said it was the first time the foundation was hosting the virtual Career Day aimed at grooming and mentoring future leaders.
He said: “Great leaders aren’t born—they’re made,” adding that the training of “leaders who take societies to great heights” was what made most nations successful. He emphasised the importance of leadership training for young Nigerians.
A member of the foundation’s BoT and Managing Director/Head of sub-Saharan Africa (EX-RSA) Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Mrs. Yvonne Ike Fasinro, said the vision was to build a network of young leaders with opportunities for empowerment and the success it could bring.
She said youths had been empowered to provide leadership for their programmes.
Other speakers at the event were the Chief Executive, Gemstone Group, Fela Durotoye; co-founder, Connected Development (CODE) Hamzat Lawal; founder, Gartner Callaway Group of Companies, Yomi Williams; co-founder/Chief Executive, Women in Engineering (WomEng), Naadiya Moosajee; co-founder, Sahara Group,Tonye Cole; CEO, Protection Plus Services Limited, Ubong King; and Managing Partner, SME NG/CEO, Easyshop Easycook Services, Saudat Salami.