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HELWEI to empower women-led MSMEs with micro credit, bridge financial gap

Healthy Living and Women Empowerment Initiative (HELWEI), a non-governmental organisation, has taken the initiative to deepen and bridge the financial gap of small business owners with capacity training and micro credit empowerment.

The two-day capacity building for women-led small businesses on book keeping, customer relations and digital marketing in Egbe/Idimu Local Council Development Area (LCDA) of Lagos State, which started on Friday September 24, was concluded on Saturday September 25.

Ebere Okey-Onyema, executive director, Healthy Living and Women Empowerment Initiative (HELWEI), said the initiative is about helping women at the grassroots understand the essence of building a sustainable business.

“What we want to do after this knowledge sharing; we are going to continue visiting them to evaluate how they are using the knowledge acquired. It is based on how each of the participants and beneficiaries of this first phase of training performs that will enable to engage them on micro credit,” said Okey-Onyema.

According to her, the micro credit will be given in groups leveraging the various market associations that participate in the capacity training.

“So, we are going to partner with their association for whatever grant we are going to give to them, which of course, is refundable, because we have to sustain the process,” she said.

Okey-Onyema disclosed further that beneficiaries are usually engaged through a scheme tagged financial interaction, which exposes the market women to several financial education by experts to deepen their financial inclusiveness and understanding of the refundable micro credits.

“Why we are insisting they pay back is because we want the project to be sustainable; we do not want it to be a one-off thing,” she stated.

Folasade Oluwole, one of the resource persons, said small business owners must understand the relationship between book keeping and business sustainability; hence the need for proper accountability.

According to her, proper record taking is essential to business sustainability. Therefore, small business owners must take daily records of all inventories to keep the business going.

“When you buy and sell; you have purchases day-book of what you bought on daily basis,” said Oluwole.

The two-day capacity building training also covered critical business sustainability areas like customer relations and the roles it play in building a business. Digital marketing; personal effectiveness; wellness and interactive session on family, Sexual and Gender-based violence (SGBV); while participants were also presented with certificates.

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