26 Wetheral Road Owerri, Imo. Nigeria
26 Wetheral Road Owerri, Imo. Nigeria
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SMFEST, the brainchild of Mr. Ajah Excel and his team of 36 crazy innovators has become a household name among the elite and laymen across the southeast. On October 21st, the event’s third edition was held at the prestigious Landmark Event Center, with over 1,700 participants.
Following the lack of technological advancement in the South East, Mr. Ajah Excel saw the need for a tech ecosystem that would bring together young minds in tech and IT experts across key industries of the nation.
In 2021, he launched the first edition of SMFEST, themed “Big Picture,” to explore the possibilities that abound in tech for young people. The second edition, themed “Creative Disruption,” walked participants through the unique usage of tech products and services.
Themed “The Gamechanger,” the third edition of SMFEST taught students how to use technologically advanced tools like AI and social media to excel in any industry.
Across Owerri, the anticipation for the event was palpable. Tricycles, motorcycles, and pedestrians from all walks of life were buzzing about the event in the capital city.
By 8:00 AM, participants began to stream in, excited and eager to learn. At 9:00 AM, the event kicked off with the introduction of hosts Miss Sunrise Chukwukaike and John Okoye. An invited minister offered a brief prayer, followed by welcoming remarks from convener Mr. Ajah Excel.
The atmosphere was charged with anticipation and excitement from start to finish. However, a fireside chat with Mr. Peter Obi took the excitement level to a whole new level.
The business mogul who repeatedly identified as a trader shared his journey from who he was to who he has become. He emphasized how he managed his business as a student and grew it into what it is today.
He also narrated how a sad experience with a bank manager as a young lad encouraged him to become the highest shareholder at a bank today, highlighting that he has never worked in the bank, as is widely believed by many.
Dr. Gideon Osi, a philanthropist who sponsored over 100 students to the event, delivered the first keynote speech, titled “Entrepreneurship as a Game Changer.” He emphasized the importance of private sector growth, which is essential for economic and social development.
His speech was highlighted by statistics showing that the tech industry and entrepreneurship employ more people than the public civil service. This underscores the critical role that entrepreneurs play in driving economic growth and creating jobs.
Jaycee the Radio Prince moderated a panel session featuring John Obidi, Tricia Biz, and Darlington Chidera Ibekwe. Each speaker shared their simple tips on how to build and sustain an online presence to achieve success.
In his keynote speech on tips for building active online communities, Mr. John Obidi emphasized the importance of understanding how social media ad algorithms work. This allows you to identify potential customers and target your content accordingly.
Mr. Paul Onwanibe, the second keynote speaker, focused on investment and the need for data. He left the audience with the memorable quote, “What you cannot count, does not count.”
Participants enjoyed a breakout session followed by networking, lunch, and games with prizes. This one-hour session provided an opportunity for attendees to connect with each other and have some fun.
Proffet Sambo, a versatile entertainer known for his dancing, singing, and comedy, thrilled the audience. Josh2funny also shared his journey to stardom, highlighting how his determination to be different helped him achieve success.
Three techpreneurs, Mrs. Caroline Nwagbaara, Mr. Daniel Chinagozi, and Engr. Chidomere Ndubuisi (a member of Forbes Business Council), shared their stories with Jaycee as host. Each speaker discussed how they started their businesses and how technology has shaped them. Finding a problem and solving it unconventionally were identified as key ways to become a game changer in any industry.
TriciaBiz, hosted by the salesguru, gave a fireside chat on “How to Startup in the Knowledge Industry.” She covered the topic extensively, sharing her insights and advice.
Mr. Ugochukwu Omeogu delivered the closing keynote session, teaching the four modules of wealth creation and admonishing the youth to be inspired by the discipline of successful people, not just their results. He encouraged them that what they had at the moment was only a fraction of what was possible.
The crowd erupted when Okeke Makuochkwu, the winner of the Student Influencer of the Year award, was announced. He took home a prize check of 200,000 naira.
At the end of each presentation, the convener took the stage to present an award of excellence. Speaking about the event’s success, he expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the 300 volunteers who carried on with the preparations while he was in Dubai pitching Diskox, an African social platform conceived at SMFEST 2022.
He is confident that the event will spark more technological innovation in the coming year and is overjoyed that over 1,700 young people have been empowered to achieve the next big thing in their careers.
Despite the challenges, the success of the event was widely celebrated by volunteers, who danced and jubilated onstage, proud of a job well done. See pictures of the event here.