The EGO Foundation, a development organization, is prioritizing financial inclusion for women in Lagos state. Recently, the foundation trained 400 female entrepreneurs residing in the Alimosho local government area to improve their digital skills and financial literacy. The aim of this initiative is to increase the penetration of financial inclusion for women-owned small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) in the state.
During the training, Toluwase Olaniyan, the executive director of EGO Foundation, emphasized that low levels of financial and digital literacy are major obstacles to women’s access to finance for their SMEs. This lack of financial literacy often leads to poor business structures and low savings culture, which discourages financial institutions from providing credit facilities to women-owned SMEs.
“That is why we created ‘She Enabled’,” Olaniyan, said. “It’s a financial and digital literacy project for women running a business and women living in underserved communities.”
He also said that: “The goal for us is to increase financial literacy and like digital literacy among women to deepen their inclusion in the society and a few of the things that we’ve done is to partner with Google to help them leverage the digital space upscale their businesses. We’ve also partnered with financial institutions like Access Bank, Padi Mi Alajo, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, offering financial services to women, and this helps the women understand the essence of bookkeeping, saving, etc.
”Women-owned SMEs or market women are the most liquid because they handle cash, but they are also excluded in the sense that a lot of them lack basic information, according to Seth Usanga, founder/CEO, Padimi.Co, a social enterprise using finance technology to provide social security to the unbanked, underserved, and excluded in Africa.
“Your average market person may have some level of education, but might not be enough to be able to go and pick out the things that will be beneficial for their business,” Usanga said in his address as a guest speaker.
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“They lack the basic information to help them structure whatever small business they are doing so that’s where we come in. We are out to change the narrative that as long as they are well positioned and their businesses well structured, they can also access the same services everybody can, especially social security which basically means access to healthcare, finance, and insurance.”
In the same vein, Nnebuogo Egboh, a development consultant and guest speaker at the occasion taught the women how to scale their businesses.
“What do you do differently will help your business survive the first five years, Egboh said. “The value you offer your customers sets you apart from the next business or competitor. To upscale requires planning, embracing digital innovations to have visibility, and being insured.”
Kolawole Oluwatoyin, a fish farmer who lives in Egbeda said prior to the training, her business had no internet exposure but she has been enlightened on how to leverage digital platforms to scale her business
“I have learned how I can use digital marketing to take my business internationally, how to access credit facilities on personal terms and conditions and insure my business,” Oluwatoyin said.