As consideration towards women empowerment and female entrepreneurship gains more interest among organisations, Felix King Foundation, which is at the forefront of championing business drive for widows and rural women is moving a step further to produce a new set of young women entrepreneurs in Africa.
The foundation founded in 2014 by Felix King Eiremiokhae, the CEO of Oracle, foremost experiential marketing agency based in Lagos is organising a 2-day Startups Africa business conference in Lagos March 27 28, 2020 at Federal Palace Hotel, with the aim of bringing together over 1,000 female African startup entrepreneurs, world class mentors, business experts, investors, bankers, government leaders and the media to support and encourage female-led businesses.
“One of the objectives of this programme is to facilitate the growth and success of women-led businesses by providing them with pitching, training, mentorship and networking opportunities”, he told BusinessDay.
He said the Startups Africa Conference entitled ‘Unleashing the Power of Female Entrepreneurs’ is designed to unite female startup entrepreneurs in all stages of business development, exposing them to topics and subject areas in branding and marketing; networking and business strategy as well as organizational structure and access to market.
The event, he said will feature training and certification session by TIUA School of business, Georgia, USA, top-tier speakers, master-classes, expert discussions and a business-pitching sessions where successful pitchers with revolutionary ideas will win up to $10,000 non- refundable in seed funding investment to be disbursed in instalments.
He said the winning business ideas should be good enough to provide employment for another woman and impact the community.
According to him, the startups Africa 2020 live event is projected to be the largest gathering of African female entrepreneurs in 2020.
On why women only, he explained that often times, women find it difficult to compete with men and the foundation also believes that the more women are empowered, the faster the pace of development in the community.
King who said he sets certain percentage of his business profit for the foundation believes that the startups Africa hub ultimately will serve as a canvas for women to showcase their masterpiece to the African content as entrepreneurs.
The businessman believes strongly in the ability of young Africans to birth the innovative business ideas that can change the world for the better.
“We are willing to provide the help and support needed to actualize this. I have always believed that if you are a billionaire and all you think about is your immediate family; then you are a poor person in your soul.
“We are not in this kind of projects because we have a surplus. On the contrary, we are driven by our conviction and belief in the saying: we can only rise by lifting others. Africa can only be great when we lend the hand to lift one another,” said King recently.
Many countries that understand the significance of entrepreneurship have laid foundations such as skill acquisition, knowledge-based institutions, free-interest or soft-loan schemes and infrastructure to grow their innovativeness which have in turn impacted their economies. No wonder economies like Malaysia, Singapore, China are leapfrogging as they have placed emphasis on development of enterprises.
However, due to the changing attitude in the country towards innovation and the clamour for support for start-ups, Nigeria which has seen itself on low ladder of many economic indices and how entrepreneurship has assisted to leapfrog other economics, has started realising the importance of support to innovations and entrepreneurship.
Emphasis are now placed on building innovation and start up hubs while banks are encouraged to give loans to entrepreneurs. NGOs and individuals are equally assisting in the encouragement of innovative ideas.
It is also commendable that operators in the private sector, such Felix King Foundation and others have keyed in to push the agenda of developing entrepreneurship and growing start- ups. It is therefore expected that with combined efforts of government and the private sector coupled with the growing interest by the youth in entrepreneurship, in the next few years, there will be huge contribution of start-ups to economic growth.