In supporting the entrepreneurial activities of female-owned businesses in Africa and helping them achieve their full potentials, Flourish Africa– female empowerment Non-Governmental Organization (NGO)- has instituted an N1 billion intervention fund to be disbursed over the next five years.
Every year a minimum of 500 female entrepreneurs will be trained, after the training 100 daring entrepreneurs from the pool will access grants of a maximum of N2 million according to their business needs and capacities from an annual fund of 200 million Naira.
Folorunso Alakija, founder, Flourish Africa said at a press conference that the initiative was launched as a gift to hardworking and enterprising women and will focus on empowering them economically and socially for the benefit of their immediate families and society.
“The world has been leaving behind an integral part of human beings even though they play many roles to enhance life, the initiative will ensure that funding is made available to women which usually is very difficult for them to get,” she said.
Alakija said the project will commence its pilot phase in Lagos and Abuja before extending to other parts of the state and eventually the continent, she also announced Eloh Consulting Limited, Google, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as partners that will provide training and consulting services for the beneficiaries.
“Eloh Consulting Limited will train the female entrepreneurs in 10 modules of management development over three months, Google will provide free digital skills training and Google Business Profile verification for female entrepreneurs while PWC will train the women on the tax regulations and requirements for doing business in Nigeria so that their businesses can be tax compliant,” she said.
Highlighting criteria for selection, Elohor Iyamu, engagement associate at Flourish Africa, said the businesses must be registered, be owned by a woman, be properly documented, among other things. For the pilot phase, she said 13,895 people applied out of which 800 were selected to make a business pitch, eventually, 740 people responded and 500 entrepreneurs were selected.
The goal is to have a higher survival rate of businesses especially those owned by women, as a follow-up mechanism after the training, beneficiaries will be admitted into the organization’s alumni network where they will be monitored and given a platform to grow,” she said.
Lilian Uwaeme, Partner at Eloh Consulting Limited, said a group of seasoned facilitators with vast industry experience has been put together to facilitate the training adding that the beneficiaries will be provided with a one-year business plan advisory support to ensure that they are equipped with knowledge and skills that will enable them to run sustainable and profitable businesses.
Similarly, Mojolaoluwa Aderemi-Makinde, Regional Head Brand and Reputation, Africa, Google said 58 percent of entrepreneurs are women most of which are micro-businesses. Through this, she says the digital divide between businesses and technology adoption will be bridged.
“In Africa, women-owned businesses have a 34 percent lower profit margin than those run by men and are less likely to receive funding and investment, they need access to the resources that will help them expand, grow, and thrive, we can support more women entrepreneurs to boost their business exposure, while simultaneously teaching them how to scale their businesses using Web tools,” Aderemi-Makinde said.