On the 30th September 2016, Aba, Nigeria‟scapital of commerce played host to the maiden edition of the Pan African Spark Conference (Regional series). The theme for this edition was “IGNITE! exploring creativity”
Brief History: The Pan African Spark, organizers of the event was founded in late 2015 by Mr. Godson Ogumka, Stanley Agu and Prince Uruakpa. The institution, possibly the first of its kind in Africa uses a multi-pronged approach to cater for the needs of the young entrepreneur. This is because it not only teaches and encourages the would-be entrepreneur in the basics of entrepreneurship; its hub section also nurtures and supports ideas and dreams of young minds, teaches them leadership skils and acts as a platform for the best ideas to meet with investors and venture capitalists. It also provides a lifelong mentoring service through its volunteering scheme.
It was not al surprising therefore that the PAS conference was filled with young people from al walks of life and seasoned and passionate entrepreneurs who saw this as a way to give back to the community. The second stanza of the National Anthem was used as the opening prayer; a way of paying homage to the forthcoming Independence Day celebrations. The event
Kicked off with an interactive session anchored by Arinze Ngene & Oluchi Nwankwo where participants were given the opportunity to share their
Expectations by showing upto the event and what they hoped to have gained by the end of it. They were also asked to mention some of the chalenges faced by entrepreneurs in general regardless of the state of the economy. Answers include: lack of steady power, high cost of production, difficulty in securing a sizable amount of funding and lack of consumer confidence when asked to pay for quality products. This warm-up session then broke up for a coffee break and networking session.
Up next was the opening address by Stanley Agu, COO and Co-founder of Pan African Spark Nigeria. He welcomed everyone for taking out time to attend and made the cal for al present to submit their business ideas and proposals with the best five receiving a form of support from the sponsors towards their plan.
This was then followed by the Digital Skils Training which was handled by MaryAnn Nkwocha of MindTheGap Nigeria in conjunction with Google. She went into details about the various social media plat forms in existence, how to master demand also optimize its provisions for business growth to drive success however smal. Participants were provided withe-certificates of participation by Google at the end of the training.
about the importance of innovation in industry and encouraged the participants to strive for difference in al that they did. He also enlightened them on the loan facility provided by the BOI for entrepreneurs and how to access it. He rounded up his speech by giving out his contact details and urged the people present to get in touch with him for further inquiries.
The Business Director and Co-founder of PAS
Nigeria, Prince Uruakpa, made a short speech thanking the guests and participants alike for being there and promised that the event stil had a lot to offer after which Mr. Ifeanyi Dim, the Director of Trainings, MINDPOWER Leadership Academy, gave a short speech on leadership and innovation which effectively brought to an end the category of speeches and talks. The next category comprised of interviews with select entrepreneurs; stalwarts in their fields who had the opportunity of sharing their stories in a bid to inspire those present and encourage them to keep at what they doing hopes of succeeding.
First up was Mr. Akachi Nwoke, CEO of Emerald
TV, a thriving TV station and partner of PAS Nigeria, who shared some of the challenges he faced while working his way up and how he managed to overcome them. He attributed his constant motivation to listening to inspirational messages and constantly striving to be the best at what he does. He also said that he was also constantly on the look out for opportunities and ways to improve himself. Next was Mr. Kelvin Ogholi, COO & Co-founder Aleph-Tav
Nigeria and recipient of the Queen Elizabeth Global Leaders Award in 2015. He spoke on how his innovation in the field of agriculture-precisely animal feeds, won him recognition from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and subsequently the honor of meeting the Queen. He encouraged al present to work toward achieving their goals regardless of present circumstances.
Last but not least was Ure Kalu, CEO of Urezkulture, a thriving online fashion brand was the perfect example of the power of social media in business.
Clad in some of her creations, she spoke about how she had with the help of social media, managed to expand her business beyond the shores of Nigeria, with clients in over six countries including the United States of America. She also shed some light on some of the challenges faced by women in business.
That category was brought to an end by Godson Ogumka,
CEO and Co-founder of PAS Nigeria who after recognizing the presence of some special guests of honor, proceeded to anchor the interactive Panel segment made up of businessmen and women from every industry including Technology, Agriculture, Fashion, Venture Capital, Entertainment, Finance and
Education. This offered the participants the opportunity to
Interact with and ask questions to the panelist of their choice.
The dispersion of the panel of speakers paved the way for the Key note speaker of the day Dr. Preiz Imoh, Senior Pastor and President of the Inspired Church who admonished the gathering to look beyond the challenges posed by the current economic climate and look to God for inspiration and advancement. He urged them to become creators like God because becoming a creator required one to operate on a higher leve lthan he/she is used to. He also charged them to be as innovative as they are creative because it is innovation that ensures a creation transcends time and is stil relevant after a long period of time. He ended by saying a Blessing and Grace over every one present and their current/future endeavors.
It was indeed a resounding success as participants keyed into the abundance of knowledge and resources on that day and how ever powerful this may seem, it is only starting point of what PanAfrica Spark hopes to do achieve not just in Nigeria, but in Africa as a whole. On that note, I enjoin you to strive to be a part of the next PAS conference scheduled to hold in the first quarter of the coming year and until then you can stay in touch with us for news and other important updates.