Nigeria Entrepreneurs Forum (NEF) was established in 2010 as a private sector driven initiative and enjoys support from the public sector establishments. It is a platform for Nigerian business owners to interact, network and do business with each other for growth and strength; as Nigeria heads more towards a private sector driven economy. The NGO has a big portfolio of programmes. And these progammes have several projects or activities.
At the one of the ongoing projects, the founder of NEF, Sidney E. Inegbedion PhD, took time to explain the activities and operations of NEF.
He gave the objectives of the forum as follows:
1. Create a forum in which enterprises can thrive through transparency, discipline and equity whilst achieving corporate goals.
2. Create a forum where members can share common business experiences, innovative ideas and motivate each other for strength and growth.
3. Create an organization where networking and synergy among members can propel economic growth and excellence.
4. Promote and propagate information that could enhance the growth and profitability of member organizations.
5. Serve as a source for advocacy on issues that may affect enterprise growth and economic freedom.
6. Promote globalization of member enterprises through sponsorship and participation in foreign trade shows, trade mission, conferences, seminars, workshops and exhibition.
7. Network and establish cooperative relationship with Local, State, federal and International Agencies whose interest and Assistance may facilitate the growth and economic well-being of member organizations.
The NGO has lots of benefits for its members. There three categories of members;
Regular Member (RM)
Corporate Member (CM)
Development Partner (DP)
He enumerated membership benefits thus;
1. Easy Access to foreign trips and business partners through participation in our Trade Mission and other international programmes.
2. Access to funds for business growth through our development partners and financial institutions.
3. Access to modern business skills and ideas though participation in membership meetings, seminars and guest lectures.
4. Networking and business opportunities through membership monthly meetings membership directory and newsletters.
5. Access to sourcing of goods and services utilizing our local and international membership database and information network.
6. Access to had to find opportunities with Government Agencies, Multilateral organizations, Foreign Embassies, Foundations and other International progammes.
7. Access to business advisory services.
8. Business referrals and guarantees.
9. Improved social, interpersonal, and leadership qualities as you serve or participate in our project teams, committees and progammes.
10. Utilize the facilities of the forum at discounted rate.
11. Receive discounted rates on trade mission volume purchase and progammes organized by the forum..
12. Enjoy the privilege of using membership of the forum for promotional purposes and references.
He enjoined attendees at the ongoing event to take advantage of the rebate offered at event to register as members. Benefits to members depend on the type of membership.
Currently NEF is partnering with Centre for International Migration (ClM). The major resource person is Dr. Ignatius Adeh. He is a Nigeria diasporan expert in Germany. He is in Nigeria under the auspices German Government under GIZ.
He will stay in Nigeria for six months during which he will deliver series of lectures that will impact on Nigerians positively.
So far he has delivered three lectures. The maiden lecture was on how to start and fund a business. The second lecture was on how to form a successful NGO. And the third in the series is on project management.
Each of these major lectures by Dr. Adeh has support lectures by notable resource persons.
NEF is in partnership with other national and international organizations. And they are listed below.
The strategic programme on Entreprenuership Empowerment and Development (SPPED) is an initiative of NEF which focuses on training and capacity building of entrepreneurs activities include:
• The how to start your own business series designed to stimulate new start-up businesses as well as ensure the sustenance of already established once.
• Engagement in public speeches on business ownership and motivation for enterprises to be able to navigate the challenge of growth.
The central objectives of SPEED are to:
• Propagate entrepreneurship as key to our future growth.
• Generate business ideas for would be entrepreneurs.
• Help develop simple, defendable and bankable business plans.
• Facilitate access to funding sources
• Help sustain existing enterprises through institutional supports.
Nigeria Entrepreneurs Forum Assistance in Development (NEFAID) is the funding arm of NEF responsible for providing support to MSMES. As a result of the acute shortage of funds for development in Nigeria, Financial demands by MSMES are usually high. Assistance from NEFAID and its Development partners are therefore highly competitive and give on best effort basis, based on project viability, business gestation period and integrity of promoters. Assistance from NEFAID are usually in the form of grants or provision of equipment.
Targets areas of NEFAID assistance are unlimited; this is to allow for innovative business ideas development as Nigeria integrates itself to the global economy. All requests for assistance are given critical evaluation by the proposal evaluation committee before assistance is given.
BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN THE INDUSTRY AND ACADEMIC PROGRAMME.
Nigeria Entrepreneurs Forum recognizes the challenges been faced by the Nigeria Youths, especially as relate to job placement and livelihood strategies after graduation from tertiary institutions. With approval of the National Youth Services Corps, NEF has developed the NYSC-NEF Bridging the Gap between the industry and Academic Progamme. The Programme is designed for Nigerian graduates in transition from the National Youth Service Corps to the work environment.
The programme provides the NYSC members with Entrepreneurship and Employability skills training needed to navigate their way to success. Through the programme, graduateing corps members are able to receive engagement or employment with the Industry. Others have been empowered in work ethics and employability skills, to find it easier to secure employment.
Entrepreneurs are crucial to building free and fair democracies that deliver opportunity to all citizens. Their economic success provides job opportunities, supports competitive market place, and unleashes entrepreneurial minded citizens to have stakes in the society. Entrepreneurs foster the democratic process through funding of political process as well as financing of political candidates to contest and win elections.
Nigeria Entrepreneurs Forum Transformation Advocates (NEFTA) is a special purpose vehicle of NEF for public sector advocacy. Acting as a non-partisan organization, NEFTA works assiduously towards the enthronement of government whose policies, programmes and initiatives favours entrepreneurship development. It also propagates business participation in politics in order to influence pro-business policy outcomes.
UNIDO-HP LIFE – NEF PROGRAMME
Nigeria Entrepreneurs Forum is a center for the implementation of the UNIDO-HP LIFE e-learning platform and curriculum.
The UNIDO-HP LIFE programme is held at NEF capacity center every month. The emphasis is on practical entrepreneurship learning and capacity building. Components of the curriculum covers Finance, Marketing operations communications, Innovation and the use of social media for business growth.
The Graduate Entrepreneurship Empowerment Programme (GREEP) is a project of Nigeria Entrepreneurs Forum which is focused on creating entrepreneurship awareness and promote self-employment among Nigerian graduates at all levels. It aims at developing 50 (fifty) next generation entrepreneurs pre senatorial district who must be knowledgeable, skilled and competent enough to represent Nigeria in a globally competitive environment. Beneficiaries of GREEP are trained and financed for new business start-ups in the Senatorial Districts of their origin.
The National Productivity Center, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment are in strategic partnership with Nigeria Entrepreneurs Forum under the “NPC-NEF Cooperation Projects”.
Nigeria Entrepreneurs Forum (NEF) is in strategic Development Partnership with the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) to jointly provide pre-Retirement Training and Entrepreneurship Development initiatives for officer…
The North Eats Business Enterprise Rehabilitation Programme (NEBERP) is an initiative of Nigeria Entrepreneurs Forum in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment aimed at providing support mechanisms towards rehabilitating the business (MSMES) affected by the Boko Haram insurgency in the six state of the North East Zone.
The devastating effects of insurgency in the North East have created high level of poverty, unemployment and loss of viable business enterprise and other means of livelihood. While the Nigerian Government through its National Emergency Management Agency as well as the international donor agencies has intervened much of the activities have focused on humanitarian relief. The NEBERP programme focuses on efforts directed at the displaced MSMES and how they can be rehabilitated through funding assistance to;
• Motivational training programmes to bring about emotional healing and regain their entrepreneurial zeal.
• Entrepreneurial training initiatives for youth and women to enable the contribute meaningfully to economic growth.
• Supply of equipment and tools for enterprise start – up and resuscitation.
The NEBERP programme is open to support from individuals, agencies and governments.
CHINA INTERNATIONAL IMPORT – EXPORT FAIR
The China International Import – Export Trade Fair (Canton Trade Fair) remains one of the Worlds’ largest Trade Fair held in Guangzhou, China biannually. Nigeria Entrepreneurs Forum is one of the few organizations with accreditation to work on behalf of the Embassy of the Poeples Republic of China to screen and approve for Visa issuance for Nigeria companies wishing to participate at the Fair. Through this process NEF has continued to contribute meaningfully towards the strengthening of Nigeria – China Trade and Investment Relations. NEF’s annual contribution to GDP in the Transactions of its members exceeds USD 1 billion per annum excluding joint venture Partnership, Agency, rights for national and sub – regional distribution.
DIASPORA EXPERTS COOPERATION AGREEMENT
Nigeria Entrepreneurs Forum is a host to the German project on Diaspora Short Term Experts Mission to Africa. Within the frame work of the project, the German Government working through its International Development Agency, GIZ, Co-ordinated by the Centre for International Migration origin who have acquired professional skills in Germany and willing to return home to contribute to Nation building even on short term basis.
The Diaspora Expert co-operation Agreement provides Nigeria Entrepreneurs Forum the opportunities to dialogue on issues of Nigerian Brain Drain to foreign countries, return protocols and deliverables. Nigeria Entrepreneurs Forum advices the Federal Government of Nigeria and the German Government on a periodic basis.
BACK TO THE FUTURE
GUS GruppoUmanaSolidarieta “G” Puletti”, an Italian Agency with the Ministry of Interior and European Union in partnership with Nigeria Entrepreneurs Forum in the implementation of the Back to the future or assisted voluntary return programme for Nigerian migrants wishing to return back home with dignity.
The programme endeavors to provide working opportunities, better lease of life and achieve a social and economic reintegration of beneficiaries into the Nigeria social fabric.
Since launched in 2017 Nigeria Entrepreneurs Forum has received and reintegrated large number of returnees providing them with entrepreneurship training initiatives, start – up funding, mentorship and ongoing institutional support. NEF has successfully reintegrated beneficiaries to the socio – economic fabrics of their various states of origin including Edo, Delta, Ondo, Kwara, Rivers among others.
The Back to the Future programme has made the beneficiaries to see a future they never know existed. Beneficiaries now pride themselves of business ownership in the fields of Fashion and Design, transportation, hospitality, merchandizing, beauty and cosmetics, Early Childhood Education among other enterprises.