The Director-General of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Victoria Akai has urged business owners and entrepreneur to look inward and leverage on the opportunities presented by COVID-19 for them to remain in business.
The DG who said the chamber as part of its emergency response to the rate at which businesses were closing during the lockdown was able to match its members with international businesses and close deals worth over 70 million dollars adding that coronavirus has been functioning as a catalyst for the fast-tracking of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR).
Akai who made this known while delivering her keynote speech at the 2021 Open Dialogue Session of #LinkedInLocalAbuja 4.0 said she joined the chamber at the beginning of the pandemic and had steered it towards a greater height urging participants to be courageous and find ways of adopting Information Communication Technology (ICT).
“Though it seems unseen by most people, the coronavirus has been functioning as a catalyst for the fast-tracking of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) in our world (marking the integration between the physical, digital, and biological spheres),” she said.
She said now machines have become active, unlike other industrial revolutions where machines were passive.
“The virus has changed the dynamics of businesses, reconstructed professional relationships, and challenged the previously held business models and customs,” she said while she appealed to participants to learn from the chamber and consolidate on the discussion by re-strategizing their business models and professional relationship in a way that their services would be relevant and accessible by clients.
She said the chambers during the lockdown re-strategize by holding a hybrid trade fair and “At that point we decided that achieving something is better than achieving nothing. We looked at the programs planned for the year 2020 to decide which programs might still, be possible for implementation given the new realities.
“We revamped our ICT architecture to conform to the realities on the ground and began to conduct our meetings using digital platforms such as Zoom, Skype, Google meet, Microsoft teams, and streaming public events on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and other possible online platforms.
“Movement Permits were obtained for our members who needed to move essential products around the country. One thing that happened for us during the lockdown period was that we were able to make contact and bond with certain regulatory agencies that hitherto, seemed distant.”
She said the chamber has changed its annual planning and budgeting to a strategic plan on how to approach service delivery in the wake of the current realities including upgrading the website to allow more engagement by members.
She said, “It is gratifying to note that a gathering like this thus provides an avenue for review of LinkedIn, as a social convergence of professionals who would want to optimize their expertise in adding value to the government, business, and their communities.”