• Sunday, July 14, 2024
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360 Woman Africa partners AIG to support female entrepreneurs with N5m grant


360 Woman Africa, a business skill development non-profit organisation has supported female entrepreneurs with N5million in grants to help boost their businesses while urging the government to develop business-friendly policies.

The equity-free grant was made possible with the collaboration of African Industries Group (AIG), Nigeria’s steel manufacturing company.

The winners of the grant were selected from a pool of over 2000 applicants from its Enterprise Skill Development MBA programme with the first prize going home with a cash prize of N2million, six months of business mentorship and office space.

Similarly, the second and third prize winners left with N1.5 million and N1 million respectively with six months of business mentorship and office space, while the fourth prize was awarded N500,000 with one-year mentorship.

Yvonne Ofodile, convener of 360 Women Africa, while speaking at the 2023 Enterprise Summit and Grant Awards in Lagos on Thursday, themed “Switch It On: Higher and Better”, emphasised the need for special attention to be given to women with regards to doing business, given the many challenges that they face.

Ofodile stated that, “the initiative was committed to providing socio-economic empowerment and improving women engagement through educational opportunities and providing them with access to funds.

However, she asked that the government stand up to their responsibility of developing and implementing good policies while availing them access to funds required to grow their businesses.

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“For instance, the recent naira policy due to poor implementation had a negative effect on business. This led to a huge drop in sales nationwide. That is to emphasise that government policies have a direct impact on the failure or success of a business. The ever-rising inflation in the country also has caused a traumatic effect on the economy. Another major issue is the access to funds and human resource capital,” Ofodile said.

While faulting the government approach in supporting Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s), she noted that more needed to be done to provide businesses an even playing ground to thrive.

“Many Nigerian entrepreneurs and professionals have fled to other countries, leaving the country on its knees in terms of availability of human resources and expertise. This has a negative long term and short-term effect on the economy,” she added.

She also charged women in the society to be hardworking and persevere, despite the unending challenges and to maximise their opportunities while exploring innovative approaches to stay afloat in business.

“Regardless of the challenges entrepreneurs should be attentive and look for ways in which they can stay innovative by employing new technologies and opportunities to push their brands and business.”

The event also featured fireside chats featuring inspiring businesswomen and leaders of thought to share their wealth of experience to equip women with personal, leadership and business skills for global relevance.

The group added that 360 Woman Africa is committed to empowering women in all areas of life even as the beneficiaries were encouraged to leverage on the grant and take advantage of networking opportunities with other professions and organisations to boost their business success.