‘Recession’ … ‘Recession’ … ‘Recession’ were the only words I heard as I entered the landmark event center auditorium yesterday.
It was the venue for the Leap conference themed “Attracting financing for your business: strategy and opportunities”. There were two sessions. The ‘CEO’s forum: @ N5, 500 and the ‘Workshop’ @ N100, 000 N50, 000. I attended the CEO’s forum and there were 6 speakers (excluding Colins Onuegbu) in attendance:
I am a very practical person, and when I go for an event, especially a paid event, I expect to get what was promised; I am gullible like that. If you tell me I am going to get “strategies and opportunities for attracting finance for my business, I actually come there believing that’s what I am going to get”.
To get straight to the point; did I get what I paid for? NO. For me, it’s that simple. There are no gray lines it’s all or nothing. The event wasn’t a waste, however, as it allowed me to get exposure to the kinds of information people are charging for. Also, I got to network with 1 of the speakers after the event. This speaker who I call my ‘MVP panelist’ actually made the whole event worthwhile for me. I’ll explain further my reasons below.
The information shared by many of the speakers were not all invaluable, however,this is my view:
“‘Cough medicine’ and ‘Malaria medicine’ are both medicine, if however a doctor tries to treat a patient with malaria with ‘cough medicine’ should we still thank the doctor for at least giving the sick patient ‘medicine’?” Eyinimofe
(Please keep in mind the theme of the event and view my rant in light of that theme):
Theme: “Attracting financing for your business: Strategies and opportunities”
Speakers and their Contributions (In bracket next to each name is an allotted topic)
Bismarck J. Rewane (Business financing trends in Nigeria)
- Nigeria is on a path to an economic recession. The cause?: government procrastination/delay in decision-making.
- Many organisations factor in ‘uncertainty’ into their pricing model (called risk related pricing)
- Some interest groups were misaligned: political, policy, regulators, market.
- 3 variables that will affect all business this year: deregulated price of petroleum products, minimum wage review, and exchange rate that is flexible.
- There is a big difference between shift in quantity supply curve and shift in aggregate supply curve (the latter is long-term and takes time)
- Salt is an inelastic product. whether the price goes up or down, customers intake cannot increase.
There was no strategy or insights on opportunities to finance my business from Bismarck Rewane
Yewande Sadiku (Overview of financing options)
- For every N100 a customer gives a bank, the bank really only holds on to 47%. The remaining 52.5% is shared between liquidity ratio (30%), cash reserve ratio (22.5%) and anchor surcharge (0.5%)
- Cash flow is very important to service your loan obligation.
- Banks don’t look at the value of your asset, they look at your cash flow statement.
There was no strategy or insights on opportunities to finance my business from Yewande Sadiku. It was more like a session on defending banks. She tried her best to explain why it seemed like banks don’t lend SME’s money. May I just use this medium to state that contrary to what this speaker said about the banks not getting rewarded if the business succeeds. I have one question: If a bank lends me N700,000 to grow my business into a billion dollar company, which bank are my more likely to stash my billions? nuff said.
Alessandra Lustrati (Alternative sources of finance for SMEs)
- Entrepreneurs looking for funding can get something called the ‘challenge funding grant’ and the ‘innovation-funding grant’.
- The donors of the funds require a ‘social return’ on their investment.
- Grants are supplements and not substitutes to financial institutions.
There was no strategy but a very little insight on opportunities to finance your business through grants. Unfortunately all the information she gave were on her slides which can be found on the Leap Africa website by those who did not pay N5.5k. Click here to read her slides. You might find some useful info there.
Raphael Afaedor (An Entrepreneurs Journey: Sourcing Finance)
- Your investors should resonate with you beyond profit
- Use your own funds first when financing your business
- Focus on growing your business not fundraising
There was no strategy or insights on opportunities to finance my business from Raphael Afaedor. I do not believe anyone paid N5.5k to be told to invest their own cash to launch their own business.
Tayo Oviosu (An Entrepreneurs Journey: Sourcing Finance)
- Investors are your partners on your journey
- Founders should subject themselves to corporate governance to be sustainable
- Cast your net widely, not underestimate your investors, they might be your major investor.
There was no strategy but very little insights on opportunities to finance my business from Tayo Oviosu. His session felt very generic with fancy quotes like ‘cash is king’ and ‘entrepreneurs are hero’s’ thrown about. On a side note, contrary to what Rapheal Afaedor believes, Tayo Oviosu actually believes entrepreneurs should not put their own cash into their business. hmmmm…
Bukky George (An Entrepreneurs Journey: Sourcing Finance)
Bukky George’s session was the must valuable session to me even though she was the least ‘finance’ type person on the panel. I call her my MVP of the panel because she was the most practical and open speaker. She shared both her financial failures and success. She was even open enough to mention the names of some of her investors and also made an open recommendation to the government to make more investment opportunities available to the health service sector. I applaud Bukky George for coming to an event wearing two hats: ‘Speaker’ and ‘Learner’. She definitely had a lot to say and 15 minutes was not enough time for her. Below are a few things she shared:
- A business man/woman has to keep reading. I am presently reading a book on finance.
- Along your startup journey, you will need different partners
- When you run a profitable business, it is easier to get more funding
- Having integrity attracts finance
- When it comes to matters of finance, get a Lawyer involved before signing agreements. You have to fully understand the terms you are agreeing to.
There were some strategies and insights on opportunities to finance my business from Bukky George.
To crown the whole event, at the end of the panel session i.e. over 2 hours of talking, only 4 people were allowed to ask questions (because of time constraints). The time allotted to questions in this conference was just ridiculous. In spite of the rush to get question time concluded, over 4 other activities still took place afterwards, e.g. raffle draw. P.S I did not drive all the way to landmark event center/pay N5.5k to win a bicycle or any of the other prizes Leap Africa spent time giving out. I came to learn and ask questions. In my opinion, the conference wasn’t participant focused at all.
Quick question, this event is in its 11th year right? How can you organise a 6-panel session and not one member of the panel is a product Leap Africa’s ‘successfully’ executed events of time past? I am tired of attending conferences that do the bare minimum and have no lasting impact. There were over 1000 people at the event yesterday (most of them youths). Would we see any of them on stage next year talking about how much impact the conference had on the growth of their business, and how they were able to attract finance as a result of the ‘strategy’ learnt? NO.
What I will get however is another call to convene at another venue and a requirement to cough up upwards of N5,500 for another ‘impact-full’ conference. (not to forget the ever so charming text message sent to me by Leap Africa ‘hoping’ I learnt something but refusing to ask me the participant for feedback which can help make next year’s conference better for all the stakeholders.
Related Post: AgriHUB: Feedback rave (See what Leap Africa should have done)
In Conclusion, overall would I want to pay to attend next year’s conference if it’s the same kind of content? NO. The information is valuable but irrelevant to me when it only tells me ‘what’ and not ‘how’. I ‘guess’ the very few people who would pay N50, 000 for the second session would have a more practical and worthwhile session overall (* a big guess).
To view the presentation slides of some of the speakers, go to the leap Africa website here
Read also my GTBank Food and Drinks fair review
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