Friday, December 21, 2018


The Top 100 Emerging SMEs Awards Ceremony a Connect Nigeria initiative sponsored by Union Bank PLC was recently held at the Union Bank Head Office in Marina, Lagos. 

The event had in attendance nominees, award recipients, representatives from the award partners, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and Sawubona, members of the press and a host of others. 

The award was put together to challenge, encourage and recognize Nigerian SME Businesses. The campaign was officially kicked off in February 2018 with a call for nominations of emerging SMES who have distinguished themselves in providing excellent products and services for due recognition, honor and celebration.

Union Bank recognized the 100 emerging businesses as part of the bank’s yearlong celebration of 100 years of operation from a record total of 13,470 nominations in 25 broad categories. 

The well attended event commenced with a welcome address by the Head, Corporate Communications and Marketing, Union Bank, Mrs Ogochukwu Ekeide. She commended the recipients for their hard work and dedication expressing Union Bank's willingness to partner with, support and reward SMEs. She also encouraged them to keep up the good work and expressed the desire to see them become fortune 500 companies in the future.

A welcome message was also delivered by the Head, Business Development, Connect Nigeria, Uzo Anekwe on behalf of the MD, Connect Nigeria, Emeka Okafor. 

In his message, he extolled all those who participated in the top 100 emerging SMEs event, noting that they were are all winners. He further observed that businesses in Nigeria were beginning to understand the dynamics of doing business in a global economy and putting systems and structures in place, to be able to compete globally. 

He added that Connect Nigeria as a brand is committed to investing in the SMEs because they are the future of Nigeria and to this end, he unveiled a series of ongoing benefits for the winners including:

All 100 winners will be published in featured articles via the Connect Nigeria online platform, to boost their visibility, and online presence. 

100 free tables will be given to all the winners of this year’s event, to showcase and exhibit their products and services at Africa’s largest SME event in April 2019.

All winners will enjoy free 1-year membership on the Club connect Platform with all the benefits that come with it. 

He concluded by congratulating the award recipients for their sterling efforts and assured them of Connect Nigeria's support as they continue to raise the bar while doing business the right way in Nigeria. 

Thereafter, Mr. Paul Aseme, Head, Retail Segment, Union Bank gave a short seminar on Union Bank's special business Advisory services for SMEs. He assured the audience of the Bank's commitment to their growth and prosperity. 

The highpoint of the event was the presentation of Award certificates to the winners of the Top 100 Emerging SMEs in attendance by representatives of Union Bank, Connect Nigeria, LCCI, and Sawubona. A photo session followed and refreshments were served as the proud recipients savored their win to the admiration of everyone present.

The recipients expressed their satisfaction with the outcome of the event and described their joy at being honored for their modest contribution to the growth of the economy. 

They entertained hopes of surpassing their previous achievements in the coming year with the aid of such initiatives as this put together by Connect Nigeria and Union Bank. The event ended amidst cheers, music and networking, with closing remarks by Mr. Oriyomi Bernard, Head, SME Banking, Union Bank

The next edition of the Connect Nigeria Top 100 Emerging SMEs is expected to take place sometime in 2019.

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