Access Bank supports women entrepreneurs with $22,000 grant
… IFC awards certificates to 100 graduates of ‘Womenpreneur Pitch-A-Ton Africa’
Access Bank Plc in collaboration with International Finance Corporation (IFC) on Tuesday gave the sum of $22,000 grant to five women entrepreneurs who won in the “Womenpreneur Pitch-A-Ton Africa” initiative and awarded certificates to 100 graduates.
The bank’s “Womenpreneur Pitch-A-Ton Africa” initiative was designed to support women in business across the African Continent.
Launched in 2019, the “Womenpreneur Pitch-A-Ton Africa” was the first women-in-business support initiative of its kind offered by the Access Bank W-Initiative.
At the grand ceremony to mark the end of the season three edition, held at the bank’s headquarters in Lagos, Margaret Obasi emerged the grand prize winner, carting away N5 million.
Herbert Wigwe, group managing director/CEO, Access Bank noted that in the 3rd edition, which commenced in June this year, the bank received over 37,000 entries from female-owned businesses across 10 African countries.
He said the top 100 candidates pitched their businesses to an independent jury consisting of industry leaders across Africa. An additional 10 winners earned consolation prizes. All 100 graduates were awarded certificates of participation by IFC.
At the event, all graduates were onboarded on the Ebi Marketplace E-commerce platform as vendors for one year, fully sponsored by the W Initiative of Access Bank.
“We look forward to showcasing your businesses and heralding your success stories. Our doors are permanently open to supporting you and partnering with you to help you overcome whatever challenges the business world may present,” Wigwe said.
He noted that earlier in 2006, the bank partnered with the International Finance Corporation to develop products specifically for female entrepreneurs.
Access Bank is one of the first African banks to provide dedicated credit lines for female-owned businesses.
“We have a Gender Empowerment Program, which provides training in business and management, offers free financial advisory services, tailored loan products, and credit facilities. The program is there to help you every step of the way in creating a sustainable and successful enterprise including the preparation of your business plan,” he said.
In her welcome remarks, Dere Awosika, Chairman, Access Bank Plc, said the fact that the bank has not allowed the happenings globally to stop it from being able to develop and celebrate entrepreneurship in womanhood, is a great step forward for them in Access Bank.
“For us in Access bank, Women are indeed very special; Women contribute a great deal to our going forward and to the expansion of the business in banking,” she said.
“So we thank God and we salute all those that are making such efforts to develop and bring up more women climbing up the ladder and identifying talents.
“Over the years, we see that such talents become great entrepreneurs, not just in Nigeria but beyond. Great works they have been doing, unimaginable things they have done to put not just Nigeria on the spot but Africa,” Awosika said.
Musonda Chipalo, principal investment officer, at IFC, congratulated the class of 2021 graduates.
He said when women entrepreneurs are supported with loans and new skills, they contain the ideas into businesses that generate economic benefits for their families.
“So for us at IFC, this is a success story, and we are very honoured to partner with Access Bank”, Chipalo said.