R-L: Paul Aseme, Head Retail Segments, Union Bank; Mabel George, Vice President, Business Development-West, Sigma Pensions; Emeka Okafor, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Connect Nigeria; Akpan Ikoabasi, Sales Manager, Air France-KLM and Eyo Bassey, CEO, Payporte at the Connect Nigeria E-Business Fair where the Union Bank Top 100 Emerging SME List was launched recently at the Eko Convention Centre.



Union Bank, one of Nigeria’s most trusted financial institutions, in collaboration with Connect Nigeria has announced the launch of the Top 100 Emerging SMEs campaign at the just concluded eBusiness fair for Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) which held recently at the Eko Hotel & Suites in Lagos.

The eBusiness fair, organized by Connect Nigeria and sponsored by Union Bank, is reputed as one of the largest gatherings of SMEs on the African continent, drawing business owners, startup founders and aspiring entrepreneurs from across the continent.

The Top 100 Emerging SMEs list is an initiative aimed at identifying, honouring and supporting Nigeria’s leading upcoming SMEs who have shown resilience by thriving despite the challenging business environment while maintaining ethical business practices.

Speaking about the launch of the initiative, Union Bank’s Head of Retail Segments, Paul Aseme said:

“As a bank that recently crossed the century mark, we are committed to supporting the growth of Nigerian businesses so they can also be profitable and sustainable in the long term. We will continue supporting the SME sector which we recognize is a vital part of the Nigerian economy.

Through this project, we intend to acknowledge and celebrate upcoming SMEs whose hard work and persistence deserve to be recognized.”

The selection process to pick the top 100 emerging SMEs will involve a combination of voters’ polls and judges’ assessments. Criteria to be considered in selecting the top SMEs will include innovation, scalability, business feasibility, market opportunity, reach and revenue.

Also speaking at the launch, Emeka Okafor, CEO Connect Nigeria said:

“The top 100 SMEs, is a project aimed at amplifying the best from the SME segment in Nigeria. Through diligent research, we hope to present the most authentic list of top 100 emerging businesses from different industries. We are pleased that Union Bank is partnering with us on this which is a clear indication of their commitment to the sector and to Nigeria as a whole.”

Interested SMEs are invited to visit http://www.connectnigeria.com/top100/ to submit their entry. Individuals are also invited to vote for the SMEs of their choice on the same site.

The Top 100 SME List is another example of Union Bank’s continued support for upcoming Nigerian businesses. Last year, 2017, the Bank, in partnership with Co-creation Hub (CcHub) launched a first-of-its kind business acceleration program ‘Start up Connect’ which is an opportunity for Nigerian companies, creating technology-based solutions for the next generation African market, to partner with CCHub and Union Bank for rapid growth.

Union Bank’s commitment to SMEs has earned it the “Best Bank to Support Nigeria’s Small and Medium Scale Enterprises” award at the 2016 Business Day Annual Banking Awards.