By Esther Onyegbula
The wife of the Lagos State Governor, Mrs. Abolanle Ambode, has urged more Nigerians to emulate the founder of Joan Agha Foundation and be more enterprising.
According to Abolanle Ambode who made the call at the GEW Enterprise Women’s Day series, a capacity building seminar and initiative of the Joan Agha Foundation (JAF), “all over the world women are home builders women are driving the world and changing economies of most countries.
If you are a woman doing so, I doff my hat up to you. Women are now driving world economy, doing great things on the horizon. Statistics from UNESCO indicates that women constitute a significant proportion of the world’s population and Nigeria has the largest population of any African country with over 178,000 people, of which approximately half are women, of which 71 percent live below poverty level.
It has been projected that women will create over 5,000 jobs in the US economy by 2018. “So, what is our excuse? One thing I know about entrepreneurs is that they find a need and they solve it. They turn problems into opportunities.
We have various problems in our society that need solving. “More than ever, women are getting on board and running things. Businesses like beauty, event management, food, agriculture and fashion are multi-million industries handled by majorly women and are creating job opportunities.
International donor agencies are finding that the amount of business development assistance given to women correlates directly to healthier families and communities. We need more women to get on board. We need to contribute our quota. With the advent of technology and social media, it is now easier to grow your enterprise phenomenally.
Use your phone wisely, it as a marketing tool Facebook is home to over 1,000,000,000 users, social media channels has great potential for leveraging your enterprise”. Stating the objectives of the foundation in her open address, Agha noted that ‘we empower women by providing soft loans to enterprising women.
Till date, we have granted 30 scholarships, financially empowered 50 women, partnered with International Women Society (IWS) to train 29 youths and women in various vocational skills. We have provided grants to several youths to start their own businesses. JAF has partnered with US (United State) Consular General on Carrington Youth Fellowship Initiative to uplift some youths through training in photography and shoe making.
Today, we have fed 4,000 people through the JAF Kitchen on the street. We cater for brilliant indigent students who for no fault of theirs, come from poor homes. We are also committed to hunger reduction through JAF Kitchen. Every January 1, we feed people on the streets while many of us have turkeys on our table –sometimes we even throw some into the dustbin, there are some Nigerians who don’t have any food to eat.