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Sterling Bank, LEAP Africa Target Entrepreneurship Development With CEOs Forum

LEAPSterlingPost
Posted: Jun 2, 2016 at 3:31 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Bamidele Ogunwusi

LAGOS

Sterling Bank has promised the leadership of LEAP Africa, a leadership development non-profit organisation, that it is ready to partner the group as long as it continue to offer service to the development of entrepreneurship in the country.

Executive Director Finance and Strategy of Sterling Bank, Mr. Abubakar Sulaiman, said Sterling Bank is partnering with LEAP for the second year running to show its commitment towards creating an enabling environment for entrepreneurs to operate in the country.

His words: “We are not involved in this to show off. We are in it to show to people that it is not only money that drives small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) but others like good book keeping; developing robust business plan, effective corporate governance and finally funding are all that make a successful enterprise and not that of funding alone.

“We have seen over the years that businesses fail not because there was no money in it but because these businesses were not operated with best practices. That is why we, as a bank, are facing training and retraining of entrepreneurs to be able to equip them with the needed skills to run their companies.

“We will do whatever that is possible to help SMEs. You cannot expect to fund SMEs today and expect to start makingmoney immediately. It is a process”.

The CEOs Forum, which was initiated in 2005, brings together local and international speakers for knowledge sharing with entrepreneurs on building sustainable local businesses. The event is targeted at SME founders, captains of industry, private and public sector leaders as well as CEOs drawn from different sectors of the economy. The forum is currently organized as an annual event within the SME space.

With the theme,“Attracting financing for your business: strategies and opportunities,” the forum is slated for Lagos on June 2, 2016, and will attract eminent speakers from different sectors of the economy, including Bismarck Rewane, CEO, Financial Derivatives Company Ltd; Yewande Sadiku, Executive Director, Stanbic IBTC Bank; and Tayo Oviosu, Founder/CEO, Paga Technology.

Executive Director, LEAP Africa, Mrs. Iyadunni Olubode, said underlining this year’s theme is the recognition that many Nigerian entrepreneurs struggle with sourcing funding due to both internal and external challenges.

However, successful business development requires additional sources of capital to support growth and enable strategic investments. LEAP Africa, she said, is available to help business owners gain deeper insight and acquire the relevant skills in entrepreneurship and business.

Her words: “Among others, the 11th CEOs forum seeks to expose entrepreneurs to the breadth of financing options available in the African context, including angel investors, venture capital, private equity, challenge funds, development financing and the stock market. The forum will also equip emerging entrepreneurs with the knowledge, skills and tools to enhance their business readiness to attract financing and effectively manage investor relationships,” Olubode said.

She said Sterling Bank, with others like KLM, Coca Cola, Stanbic IBTC Bank are partnering to organize the 11th edition of the CEOs Forum, with a focus on how small businesses can attract funding for sustainable growth.

In line with the theme, the event will hold in three stages, namely the ‘CEOs’ Forum’, the ‘Investment-Readiness Workshop’ and the ‘Business Connect Cocktail’ for investors and emerging entrepreneurs.

Established as a non-profit organization in 2002, Leadership, Effectiveness, Accountability and Professionalism (LEAP) Africa has been committed to developing business leaders and supporting them with the knowledge and skills to ensure businesses continue to thrive into their second and third generations.

LEAP contributes to the sustainability of Nigerian SMEs through published business books which reflect local context, training programmes and an annual CEOs Forum targeted at founders of SMEs.