The Business Networking Forum and Trade Fair 2024, Yola, Nigeria

In an effort to catalyze investment and stimulate regional development, the Business Networking Forum and Trade Fair 2024 took place in Yola, Nigeria, on May 16-17. Under the Feed the Future Initiative, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security program, this event focused on the theme “Reaching the Last Mile with Quality Product and Services, Strengthen Market Systems Resilience and Enhance Sustainable Economy in the Northeast.” The forum brought together key stakeholders from various sectors to discuss, network, and explore opportunities for sustainable growth and development in the region. We, at Startup Kano, were honored to be invited as partners, with our HR representative, Yomi Sani Ibrahim, attending the forum.


Day 1: Setting the Stage for Development

The first day of the forum was held at the Conference Hall of Muna Hotels in Yola. The event commenced with the national anthem and national prayers, setting a tone of unity and purpose. This was followed by a climate-setting session, aimed at preparing the attendees for the discussions ahead.

A welcome address was delivered by the Deputy Chief of Party (DCOP) of the Regional Resilience Alliance (RRA), who provided an insightful overview of RRA’s approach to fostering resilience and sustainable development in Northeast Nigeria. The keynote address was given by Gafai Yunusa, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Adamawa State Agribusiness Support Programme (ADAS-P). Yunusa’s speech highlighted the critical role of agribusiness in regional development and the potential for transformative growth through strategic investments and partnerships.

Sharing Experiences and Learning

The session on sharing experiences and learning was particularly enlightening. Private sector partners presented case studies showcasing the successful implementation of Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA), inclusive business models, and nutrition-focused initiatives. These presentations demonstrated the tangible benefits of innovative approaches in enhancing resilience and driving economic growth at the community level.

this was followed by a crucial policy presentation on the ease of doing business in Northeast Nigeria provided valuable insights into the regulatory and business environment of the region. After which a presentation from RRA on lessons learned regarding private sector investment in Northeast Nigeria was delivered. The discussion underscored the importance of creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive and highlighted strategies for overcoming common challenges faced by investors in the region.

Day 2: Networking and Exhibition

The second day of the forum was dedicated to exhibition, fairs, and networking, providing a platform for stakeholders to showcase their products and services, exchange ideas, and forge new business linkages.

This precious day began with another welcome address by the RRA DCOP, setting the stage for a day of dynamic interactions and opportunities for collaboration.

Exhibitions and Networking

The exhibition segment featured a diverse array of products and services from Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) across the Northeast marketplace. This was an excellent opportunity for businesses to gain market exposure and for attendees to witness the vast potential of the region’s marketplace.

Furthermore, there was a key highlight of the day was the session on standardization and product quality expectations. This discussion emphasized the importance of adhering to quality standards to enhance marketability and competitiveness. The session provided practical insights into how businesses can meet these standards and leverage them to gain a competitive edge.

Reflections and Takeaways

Our participation in the Business Networking Forum and Trade Fair 2024 was a rewarding experience. The event not only validated the potential of RRA-supported business models but also identified numerous opportunities for scaling private sector investments sustainably. The emphasis on creating business linkages and promoting market exposure was particularly beneficial, fostering increased collaboration among stakeholders.

Yomi Sani Ibrahim, representing Startup Kano, engaged with various partners and stakeholders, exchanging ideas and exploring potential collaborations. The insights gained from the event will undoubtedly inform our strategies and initiatives as we continue to support and empower startups and businesses in Kano and beyond.

The Business Networking Forum and Trade Fair 2024 was a resounding success, offering a platform for meaningful dialogue, learning, and networking. As we move forward, we are excited about the prospects of leveraging these insights and connections to drive sustainable economic growth and resilience in the Northeast and across Nigeria.