NECA, ILO seek increased support for women entrepreneurs

…as NNEW launches WE Self-Check action plan

The International Labour Organisation (ILO), and Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), have called for increased support from the government and critical private sector players for women entrepreneurs to enable them add more value to the economy.

The two organisations made the call at the launch of Women’s Entrepreneurship – WE Self-Check Action Plan in Lagos, on Tuesday, where they stressed the need for the government and major actors in the economy to be deliberate and intentional in policy and measures that promote women entrepreneurship and gender equality.

Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde, the director-general of NECA, said the employers’ organisation was committed to supporting women in business and would further work with the NECA’s Network of Entrepreneurial Women (NNEW) to achieve the overall objective of the WE Self-Check action plan.

Funmilayo Arowoogun, president of NNEW, speaking with BusinessDay at the launch, said the WE Self-Check was about resetting the mindset of women entrepreneurs and making them better at managing and growing their businesses through training and capacity building.

“This is all about the things we need to be deliberate about in serving women entrepreneurs and their interests; how we can help women entrepreneurs build their capacities. How we can make them add value to their businesses,” Arowoogun said, adding that in the next three months, NNEW and NECA with the support of the ILO would be focusing on how to realise the goals of the WE Self-Check action plan.

Read also: AFAWA, AFI to boost financial inclusion for African women entrepreneurs

“Within the next three months, we want to focus on the implementation of the action plan; all the training, capacity building, all the things that women need to thrive in their businesses, she said.

Also, Obiageli Nwobi, the ILO facilitator, said the female gender was disadvantaged in many ways and there was a need for policies that support their struggles.

“There’s a need to have a comprehensive survey on what the women require to excel in their respective lines of business,” Nwobi said.

The WE Self-Check is an action plan that highlights recommendations from months of research jointly carried out by NECA and NNEW on how women can be supported and mentored to grow their businesses and further add value to the nation’s economy.

The research project tagged “promoting gender equality and formalisation through women’s entrepreneurship development in Nigeria’ with the objective to enable NECA and NNEW adopt gender-responsive measures to better target and serve women entrepreneurs. It was also aimed at widening women’s representation in corporate and business organisations through the We-Check self-assessment tool.

Some of the recommendations of the action are that NECA and NNEW will ensure organisation-wide sex-desegregated data on members are collected through relevant forms and stored in the NECA/NNEW database within the next three months.

NECA and NNEW should admit members based on their definition of a women entrepreneur/woman-owned business. This will be decided by members of the NNEW board of trustees, NNEW governing council, national executive council etc during a strategic meeting with the ILO facilitator

NECA and NNEW carry out annual comprehensive Research on challenges, needs and preferences of Women Entrepreneurs to enable them decide on annual activities going forward

NECA and NNEW annual calendar will include programmes that specifically target SMEs and Women entrepreneurs.

That NECA and NNEW annual calendar will include programmes (Leadership, or Management) that are specifically targeted at women in business or Management. There will be collaboration between NECA and NNEW to design these programmes, among others.