A group of young professionals of Niger Delta extraction has vowed to champion a new narrative towards stimulating the growth of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in the region.

The group said it has concluded plans to host what it described as the biggest MSME summit in the region, stressing that the event, which was earlier planned for March 2020 was moved to Friday, February 12, 2021 due to the ravaging coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to newsmen in Port Harcourt, Chairman of Nigerian Young Professionals Forum, NYPF, and former governorship candidate in Bayelsa State, Moses Siloko Siasia, said a team of young people with futuristic thinking has been put together for the summit. He said the theme of the event is: Stimulating MSME Growth Beyond Oil.

Siasia said the summit will host over 300 carefully selected MSME /small business owners across all the states in the region who will attend in person, while others will join the conference virtually, in conformity with the COVI9-19 preventive guidelines and protocols.

The summit will help generate a database of all the existing MSMEs in the region while galvanizing stakeholders buy-in for the strengthening of businesses operating in the Niger Delta region, in order to facilitate the sustainable growth of small businesses.

“The only hope for the region right now is to encourage those doing meaningful businesses. The society has neglected productivity for too long.

"More people of good character and competence should be encouraged to emerge in the region and in which case young people with great ideas and skills can be enabled by the various governments of the region and the multinational oil companies operating within the region,” he said, stressing that it will further enhance the region’s productive capacity to be competitive and to develop.

Siasia said the summit will be attended by young business owners between the ages of 18 and 45, saying it will be a day summit including product showcase, main-stage keynotes, interactive master sessions, style breakouts, business to business meetings, mentoring sessions, and networking opportunities among others.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the Deputy Senate President Senator Ovie Omo-Agege are expected at the summit.

The Governor of Rivers State Nyesom Wike is the Chief Host while Engr. Simi Wabote, Executive Secretary Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board NCDMB, will feature as Guest Speaker.

Other dignitaries are Interim Administrator of Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC, Effiong Akwa and some federal ministers, chairmen and executive directors of government parastatals.