Women must learn how to recognise and convert every ‘message’ in their system to money or commercial profit. The moment this is done, women would take over the future of entrepreneurship.
This is the new concept springing up in various female entrepreneurship incubation centres around Nigeria, especially Nigeria, spearheaded by a female lifestyle coach, ex-banker, Mounfiq Raiyan Abu, known more as the ‘Mindset Reset Coach’. She is the managing director/Chief Executive Officer of Raiyaninspires Consulting Limited.
Raiyan Abu unveiled the techniques at an entrepreneurship forum in Port Harcourt with a bias for women, Entrepreneurship Platform Initiative (EPI) where she exposed the top professional women and business magnets on how to harness the futuristic goals of the female entrepreneur.
The future of entrepreneurship is female
Speaking at the induction ceremony of EPI led by Mary Bello Abu, Raiyan Abu revealed a recent research that found that the future of entrepreneurship is female. “This is because the world over, only five per cent of the entrepreneurial population is female and therefore this gives rise to certain opportunities which female entrepreneurs should set their future goals on.
Her assertion is that since women have many message facets and faculties, if they turn each to profit and commercial success, the ordinary woman would simply be a walking money machine. All they would do is to learn that every single thing around them or they lay their hands on is money.
They would realize they are the only ones that can work from the home, from the backyard, from any space. They are also the ones that start any business with any amount as capital. For instance, a woman can from her kitchen feed 10 persons with her neighbourhood that need food badly but have no time to cook it, and make her profit quietly. A woman can run an online shop quietly without anybody knowing she is into big business.
The technique for women
To take their position, women must define their future goals in business and work towards total takeover by meeting the needed goals. She said. “The first is the goal to fight for gender parity in business in terms of bank financing. This is because for now, most bankers are inclined to finance male-owned businesses”.
Women seem to be outsiders in the business world and the training is to help them create networks and platforms to interact and bond. The essence is the goal for inclusion and learning to share the spotlight with their male counterparts. Thus, they would target online world and achieve huge online influence and visibility.
Raiyan Abu told the women entrepreneurs: “Have the right mindset reset and don’t feel intimidated by men. By this, seek out what is right and always stand by it”. When she was in the bank, she said she initially was made to feel out of place in wearing her Muslim headgear but later learnt to stand by it as a right. Now, she said, she supplies the headgears, rather.
The next goal the EPI and other women must seek is the goal to learn to be more competitive. “Women must also learn to have more financial discipline.” The era of business women to think that every amount is good for baby food is over, they should plan what to spend and what not to, she admonished.
The strategist reminded women that more companies are introducing diversity in their lending processes and it is time women exploited this by seeking investors and financing. This was when she slammed the advice: “Learn to turn your passion into profit and monetize your message.”
She also harped on the criticality of branding and brand management: “Brand development is a key growth opportunity to harness on.”
Challenges on the way
The future of entrepreneurship may be female but it is not a bed of roses for anybody, male of female. Many headaches worry them and these must be overcome first. She named them as inability to secure funding, saying female entrepreneurs in Nigeria often struggle to secure financing. “Banks normally require collateral, like property, which women often do not have. Without access to capital, it will be difficult for them to grow their business. This is the biggest challenge faced by women-owned businesses across
Nigeria as access to capital is crucial to any small business’ growth trajectory.”
She went on: “Lack of role models and access to mentorship programmes shows that quality mentorship plays a huge role in the success of any woman entrepreneur and her business. It is particularly helpful for women to be enrolled in mentorship programmes or have mentors who have faced the same challenges they have. Nigerian women entrepreneurs, especially startups, however, do not have this support network and end up drowning in the face of even the most trivial obstacles”.
She also mentioned inability to secure good business space, and cultural values and limitations. “Although we live in an age and time where women are becoming more daring and opinionated, many women still face the challenge of running their own business because the society believes men should be the ones to make money and provide for the family. A woman exhibiting her entrepreneurial prowess is presumed as wanting to take over the leadership role of the husband. To overcome this entrepreneurial challenge, you must be prepared to break through this limiting tradition. You must stick to what you believe in.”
Another headache is that female entrepreneurs struggle with balancing business and family. “This is because we naturally are the backbone of the family; we lay the building blocks on which the family foundation is built. So often times, women entrepreneurs usually find themselves torn between commitment to the family and business.
An entrepreneur: The backbone of the society?
It was important to let the women understand who an entrepreneurs truly is and they really do. “An entrepreneur is a man or woman who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit. Not only that, the entrepreneur is that person that is inspired to solve problems, that is eager to create new opportunities and new ways of doing things. An Entrepreneur finds gaps in any given situation and closes them. We are risk-takers, innovators, leaders, self starters, growth advocates and progressive thinkers. This is why entrepreneurs are the bedrock of any progressive society because we are relied upon to grow and develop the economy and we should always endeavour to live up to this challenge.”
Rise of the female dragons
She said: “In the last few decades, there has been a rise of female entrepreneurs. In the past, only men used to be known as entrepreneurs and addressed as such. There was no term as business women.”
She said entrepreneurship on the part of women began as a way of providing extra money in the family. Now, it has grown into the mainstay of most families. “My mother for instance was a teacher; she taught me in my primary school, Air Force Primary School, Benin City, Edo State. But while my father was “the Business Man” that had a successful haulage business and known in our neighbourhood, my mother also contributed significantly to make ends meet.” Despite the growth in her income, she was not referred to as a business woman.
Now, she said, from the early 2000’s and now, the rise of female entrepreneurs has become commonplace. “Statistically, there are more female entrepreneurs in Africa than our male counterparts. While it is a welcome development, we do not have the influence, visibility and resources that our male counterparts have in order to be able to grow our business and thrive.”
Lifestyle entrepreneurs; other entrepreneurs
She went on: “The female entrepreneur is not only about the business, but also about the impact. We are Life Style Entrepreneurs and Social Entrepreneurs because we are natural nurturers and we care a lot. However, we need to be able to control some of our inherent traits in order for us to have sustainability and long-term growth. In order words, we have our work cut out for us and we need to be quick on our feet and smart in our intellect in order to thrive for a very long time to come.”
She mentioned other different types of entrepreneurs and as global development continues. “However, for the benefit of this program, there are three key types of entrepreneurs: Social Entrepreneur; those that pursue innovative solutions to resolve social problems; examples are non-profit organisations, NGOs. Serial entrepreneurs are those that always come up with new ideas, build a business and then sell it’ then start another business. Lifestyle entrepreneur is someone who creates profit from personal passion. It is worthy of note here that women are usually social or life style entrepreneurs.”
Nigeria’s model female entrepreneurs
Raiyan Abu noted that not only have female entrepreneurs grown in Nigeria, they are breaking records and winning awards at very young ages. She named some of them as Uche Pedro (Nee Eze): Only in her 30’s , Uche is the founder of Bella Naija; a very influential African fashion and entertainment blog / website which she started in 2006. This site gets at least 10 million views a month. She was named one of the most promising young entrepreneurs in Africa by Forbes magazine in 2014.
Others are Ola Orekunrin: She is the founder of “Flying Doctors”- a charity air operated medical organization, the first of its kind in Nigeria and she is only 28 years old. Her company is the first indigenous air ambulance company in Nigeria which is based in Lagos. Ola graduated as one of the youngest doctors in England and she is also a trained helicopter pilot. She was listed among “Young Global leaders” by the World Economic forum in 2013 and she is a TED fellow.
More: Tara Fela-Durotoye: is a Nigerian lawyer and beauty entrepreneur in her early 40’s . She founded House of Tara International, Nigeria’s leading beauty and cosmetics company, and was named one of Forbe’s ’20 Young Power African Women’. Folorunsho Alakija has consistently stayed on top as not just the richest woman in Nigeria but in Africa as a whole. She began her foray into the employment market as a secretary. Years later she established “Supreme Stitches” which is a tailoring company. Subsequently, she diversified into the oil and gas (petroleum) sector where she made huge money which made her a billionaire ( a position she has maintained till date) She has a net worth of $1.9 billion.
Another she mentioned is Stella Chinyere Okoli: She is a major contributor in the health sector by making sure drugs in Nigeria are cheap and purchased at affordable rates. She is the CEO of the famous Emzor Pharmaceutical company and is also a philanthropist. She has a net worth of $500 million. Then Linda Ikeji, who rose to fame as Nigeria’s most popular entrepreneur, owning popular Linda Ikeji blog from which she has raked in hundreds of millions of naira. She’s known to be the first to break exclusive hot gist on many Nigerian celebrities whether good or bad.
Most of the women in the hall were seen bubbling, rearing to go. In years to come, women may truly take over the entrepreneurship space as they have done in some professions such as nursing and teaching.