“Risk is Business and Business is Risk.”

These astute words by Keynote Speaker, Mr. Dharnesh Gordhon, MD/CEO of Nestle Nigeria, buttressed the importance of the theme of LEAP Africa’s 10th Annual CEOs Forum for SMEs – Staying Ahead: Maximising Profit and Mitigating risks – which held on June 9th, 2015 at the Lagos Oriental Hotel.

Mr. Gordhon explained to the crowd of over 750 entrepreneurs and company representatives how one must continue to innovate as we face challenges, because everything can and will go wrong. He said, “Embracing risk should be in the DNA of every Entrepreneur; a mindset of managing risks gives you competitive advantage.” He also cited pertinent examples of risk response plans which his team created and is being used in Nestle worldwide – Pandemic Response Plan (used during Ebola Virus Disease and Avian Flu) and Business Continuity Plan (which was used during the recent fuel scarcity in Nigeria).

While giving the opening remarks at the Forum, Mr. Guillaume Roux, Group MD/CEO of Lafarge Africa Plc., told of his company’s growth as a direct result of not being afraid to face risks and find solutions. Though they faced a lot of risk entering new markets in some African and Asian countries, they made the decision to enter Nigeria, Malaysia and the Philippines looking at the long-term reward. Now, those decisions paid off as Nigeria ranked 2nd place in the first quarter of 2015.

A distinguished panel of guest speakers were present to deliver insights from various angles of Risk Identification and Management. The panel included: Mrs. Peju Adebayo, Managing Director, WAPCO Operations, Lafarge Africa Plc; Mr. Wole Oshin, Managing Director, Custodian and Allied Insurance Limited; Mr. Abubakar Suleiman, Executive Director, Finance & Strategy; and Mrs. Clare Omatseye Founder, Managing Director JNC International.

Guided by the Moderator, Mrs. Morin Desalu, Managing Director, Riskwatch Brokers Insurance, each panelist addressed specific sub-themes including Managing Financial & Currency Risks in the Nigerian & Global Business Landscape, Managing Supply Chain, Operations & Sales Risks in Nigerian Business Landscape, The Importance of Insurance and Other Formal Risk Mitigation Strategies in Protecting Your Business, as well as Building a Culture of Risk Management: Thinking and Acting One Step Ahead.

With the use of different real-life scenarios, the audience received sound advice on the need to understand their business environment, identify & assess risks peculiar to their business, and formulate the right risk response strategies – Avoid, Transfer or Accept/Retain. Building a culture of risk management, where every employee is involved in managing risks, is a great way to control “crises management.”

This year’s forum also served as a launch pad for LEAP Africa’s 11th book, “Art of Managing Risk”, a guide to SMEs and business managers on how to mitigate risk in business.

About LEAP Africa

Established in 2002, LEAP (Leadership, Effectiveness, Accountability and Professionalism) Africa is a leadership development nonprofit organization committed to developing dynamic, innovative and principled African leaders.

Through leadership programmes, LEAP has dedicated efforts into working with visionary youth, business owners and social entrepreneurs. Over the years, LEAP has inspired and equipped beneficiaries to lead ethically while building enduring organizations and implementing positive change projects that transform communities.


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