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Founder of Leap Africa, Mrs. Ndidi Nwuneli has been named as the Keynote Speaker of January 9 Collective’s 4th Anniversary lecture scheduled for Tuesday, January 12th, 2015 at the MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos.

Nwuneli, who is co-Founder of AACE Food Processing & Distribution, an indigenous agro processing company will be speaking on the theme: “SMEs the engine room of the economy; who’s talking to them?” 
According to Mr. Wole Olagundoye, the Chairman, Anniversary Committee, “Every year, we celebrate our anniversary with various activities, the high point of which is our annual lecture during which we debate and proffer solutions to burning topical issues affecting our nation. This year, rebuilding our economy is one of the federal government’s priorities hence we are focusing on SMEs, being the major driver of true economic growth”
He stated that apart from Nwuneli, Kunle Sonola, Executive Director, Union Bank will deliver a speech as Special Guest while Bunmi Lawson, MD Accion Microfinance bank, Henry Akwara, Director, Mansard Insurance, Akin Oyebode, Head, SMEs StanbicIBTC Bank, Funmi Ajila-Ladipo, President, FADAN will act as Panelists. The event would be moderated by Fanen Acho, Founder/CEO Medleypark Group.
J9 Collective’s Publicity Secretary, Michael Effiong noted that the group believes that if the SME sector is galvanized in terms of favourable funding, friendly tax regimes and other support services, it would not only jump start our economy but move Nigeria closer to its dream of being an economic powerhouse
He said that J9C is a socio-economic group of Nigerian Professionals with an unwavering belief in Project Nigeria and an equal passion to create the requisite awareness that will encourage and promote good governance at all levels through constructive engagements.
Apart from the Lecture, the group’s Captain, ‘Seun Soyinka also revealed that there would be an innovative Cycling event tagged “Ride for SMEs” to create awareness towards the lecture.
“We are also organising a 10km bicycle ride on Saturday, January 9th 2015 which is the exact date of our anniversary. The event is aimed at creating awareness for our Lecture on Tuesday while also promoting cycling as a sport” Soyinka stated.
The Keynoter Nwuneli is also a Partner at Sahel Capital, an advisory and private equity firm focused on the agribusiness sector in West Africa. She has 20 years of experience in international and entrepreneurship development and has led a range of initiatives in Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda and Senegal.
Ndidi started her career as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company, working in their Chicago, New York and Johannesburg Offices. She returned to Nigeria to serve as the pioneer executive director of the FATE Foundation, a leading entrepreneurship development organization in 2000. She established LEAP Africa and NIA in 2002 and 2003 respectively.
LEAP is a leading leadership development organization that has worked in 26 states across Nigeria providing leadership training, and coaching to over 50,000 entrepreneurs, youth, teachers and the public sector. LEAP has also pioneered curriculum and published ten books on succession, ethics, governance and management. NIA empowers female university students in the Southeastern Nigeria to achieve their highest potential.
Ndidi holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a BsC with honors  from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Ndidi was recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and received a National Honor – Member of the Federal Republic from the Nigerian Government. In 2011, she was listed as one of the 20 Youngest Power African Women by Forbes. In 2013, she was honored by the Global Fund for Women during their 25th Anniversary Celebration in San Francisco. She serves on numerous international and local boards including Nestle Nigeria Plc., Cornerstone Insurance Plc., Nigerian Breweries Plc. and USAID’s Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid.
Ndidi recently completed a non-resident fellow at the MRCBG at the Harvard Kennedy School where she worked on a book on “scaling social impact in Africa.”

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