By Emeka Anaeto
On the backdrop of a high entrepreneurial ratings of Nigerian women, a leading female entrepreneur in Nigeria, Mrs. Adenike Ogunlesi, has outlined some of the challenges of Nigerian female entrepreneurs and also offered solutions to the challenges.
Ogunlesi, who is the founder of Nigeria’s leading children wears brand, Ruff n Tumble, listed the challenges including cultural values & societal discrimination, inadequate support network ( lack of available advisers and mentors), balancing business and family life, limited experience/training in entrepreneurship development, and coping with a fear of failure.
Speaking at the just concluded second African Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF), Ogunlesi also included in the long list limited access to capital/ Funding, inadequate access to market information, unskilled labour force, high cost of living and doing business, as well as poor government support for female entrepreneurs.
These challenges, according to her, were coming against the recent report by the ‘No Ceilings’ initiative of the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, which indicated that a woman in Nigeria is four times as likely to be an entrepreneur than a woman in the U.S.A.
She also stated that ‘‘study shows 41% of women are entrepreneurs in Nigeria while 42% of these women are shown to have received loans from family and friends to start their businesses. While only 2% have received from financial institutions’’.
To overcoming the challenges, she listed several other strategies which include: clarity of purpose, the use of the power of choice, effort, discipline, resilience, business structure, commitment to life-long learning by the female entrepreneurs.
She also commented on the role of the government and business community in supporting entrepreneurship in Nigeria which according to her, includes visionary and transparent governments, access to finance and financial incentives, provision of basic infrastructure (Roads, Power etc.).
Others include adequate legal and regulatory framework, commitment to building domestic expertise and knowledge, removal of bureaucratic bottlenecks with government agencies (such as NAFDAC, SON etc), ease of doing business in the areas of permits, multiple taxation.