The fourth Converge Conference, Enabling Enterprise Conference which was a Converge Roundtable held on Saturday the 27th of October 2012 at Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt Rivers State. The Event was hosted by Mr. Belema Papamie who gave a rundown of what Converge is about and its previous conferences. The Conference Producer and Founder, Mr. Dabo Owen Etela shared insights on what inspired him to start Converge Conferences.
He said a similar but foreign event known as “TED” inspired him to start ‘Converge’ so as to create positive impact in our local communities.
Mrs. Mina Ogbanga took the podium to deliver a stunning presentation on the need for mentorship in small businesses and as young individuals. She said that individuals should have more than one mentor especially in this fast changing world. While delineating on what she referred to as peer-mentorship, she opined that mentorship must not always be a relationship between an older and younger person, but could also take place between mates. She further explained that quality mentoring focuses on developing a partnership through which a person shares knowledge, skill and information. To wrap up her presentation, Mina highlighted the numerous roles and benefits of mentors and mentees.
Mr. Nat Abraham, the Community Development Chairman of Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority in his fleeting oration emphasised that people should always endeavour to seize opportunities as they present themselves. In their humour-fused presentation, Funky four + 1 More represented by Michael Ogolo and Dan D’Humorous spoke on comedy and entertainment as a business. They shared their experiences and challenges and also how they pulled through. They talked about the importance of periodic self-evaluation and developing new strategies where necessary in order to improve your business. It was a perfect blend of insights and humour which left the audience grinning, chuckling, and even bursting out with laughter.
The Special Guest Speaker of the event, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, the executive governor of Rivers State who was ably represented by Mrs Ibim Semenitari, the honourable commissioner of Information and Communications spoke on “strategies for strengthening small business”. She accentuated that the creation of an economy asides oil and gas is necessary for us to live a better and comfortable life. She spoke on some of the policies the government has created to strengthen small businesses which included; creating more study opportunities especially for the gifted and children living in the rural areas, micro credit scheme for widows, looking for PPP’s, and enabling RIMA to help young entrepreneurs with loans to help their businesses. She also mentioned some of the problems small businesses face which are mainly; access to credit facility, taxes, and registration of the business. The Commissioner in conjunction with the boss of RIMA, Dr. Innocent Iyalla Harry spoke on how agencies like RIMA and other agencies have supported the growth of small businesses through loans and other opportunities. Dr. Innocent Iyalla after sharing with the audience how he started a small business during NYSC also discussed the guidelines for small businesses to obtain loans from RIMA. This session came to an end with Mrs. Ibim responding to questions from anxious participants while also taking note of suggestions and ideas.
To wind up the event was the usual and most unique aspect of Converge referred to as “Unconference”, a segment where various participants take turns at the podium to share or showcase their unique ideas, products, and services. This edition saw a young man Odiavwa share his innovative initiative called “Runnaz”, a specialised bike delivery services within the city of Port Harcourt. Diepriye Apola Opuda, a member of the core organising team talked about what he calls “The Incubator”, a well laid out combined workstation for start-up entrepreneurs. Other ideas and initiatives were also showcased with the audience not hesitating to ask questions and make contributions where they deemed fit.
The event came to an end with a closing remark by Maple Dappa, the Converge Community Manager.
See photos below: