By Juliet Umeh
An entrepreneur and co-founder of Parliamo Bambini, a kids’ furniture company, Ifedayo Etti, has charged women to seize the funding opportunities available locally and internationally to fund their businesses.
Making the call during the launch of her book entitled: Accessing Grants for Startup, Ifedayo said lots of women are suffering in business due to ignorance.
According to her, when a business is viable and problem-solving, people will offer to invest in it locally and internationally.
According to her, for three years, she has been helping women to access funding and through one of her programmes called The AGS Enterprise Challenge (Accessing Grants for Startup), three women emerged winners last week.
The lucky winners are Olabanke Omowunmi, Titilayo Medunoye, and Tunde Oni who won N1.5 million, N1million and N500, 000 respectively together with free training and mentorship.
In an interview with WO, Ifedayo said: “We started the campaign two weeks ago and have shortlisted the best 10. There will be a live pitch to the judges and audience today; the judges will select the top three.”
Explaining how Parliamo Bambini started, she said: “When we started, we realised that a lot of people had wanted baby furniture, so we started to apply for grants and other opportunities that were available in Nigeria.
The first one that we stumbled upon was the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme and we applied for that in 2016 and we got it that same year. The fact that a globally recognised programme like that could say that Parliamo Bambini was one of the companies that could transform Africa, gave us more confidence in our business.
“From the funds that we got from the programme, we were able to expand to other things, we got our workshop and we were able to produce more items for our customers,” she explained.
Ifedayo and crew didn’t stop there, “after that, we also noticed that other opportunities were opening up in Africa and we also applied. This has helped in creating brand awareness of Parliamo Bambini as a whole, so I have seen the effects it has had on our company.
“I am a part of several communities like the Global Shippers’ Community, which is a community that was born out of the World Economic Forum. The World Economic Forum has chosen selected people across the world who are making impact in their organisations. You have access to a global network once you are part of this community. You can actually take yourself and your business to the next level because different people can hear about your products. If you are in a group, you can put up what you are selling and people from other countries can also have access to those products,” she explained. Having noticed the benefits of these funding to her business, that made her to start applying for these opportunities for other people as well.
On what informed her book, Ifedayo said it is to teach people how to apply for these opportunities and even tell them that these opportunities are available to everybody. She said she also noticed that a lot of people with awesome business ideas don’t know how to package their businesses professionally in order to attract investors.
She, however, noted that her book answers frequently asked questions from writing a personal profile to unique selling propositions.
“I also wrote about the business opportunities and sustainable development goals. I realise that a lot of people don’t know about sustainable development goals in Nigeria. If your business idea solves problems such as reducing poverty in Nigeria or making sure that people are not hungry or providing services that promote economic growth, it would actually help your business and attract international funding. Also in the book, Ifedayo said women should take advantage of the opportunities, noting that a lot of women are scared so the book encourages them to stop limiting themselves.