By Nkiruka Nnorom
Women in Nigeria have been urged to play a more active and frontal role to stimulate the growth of businesses and overall development.
In addition, they have been advised to pursue leadership roles in their communities and the corporate world so as to rise to the top echelon of decision making in order to champion policies and programmes that would ensure sustainable development.
The advice was given by the President and Chief Executive Officer, Global Fund for Women (GFW), Ms. Latanya Mapp Frett, who was the Special Guest Speaker at the 4th edition of the Women Financing Women, WFW, Group meeting hosted by leading financial services provider, First City Monument Bank, FCMB, and SME.NG (Nigeria’s SME Impact Investment Platform) in Lagos.
The WFW quarterly meeting, which was held virtually, provided a platform for women entrepreneurs to come together and share experiences on how the novel COVID-19 pandemic has affected businesses and proffer solutions to the various challenges posed by the pandemic.
The WFW Group, conceptualised by SME.NG in 2019, is an assemblage of women-led funds, investors, and financial institutions with diverse portfolios that focus on assisting women to secure finance for their businesses in Nigeria.
On the other hand, SME.NG is an impact investment platform that invests in Nigerian Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, SMEs, to realise measurable environmental, social, and financial returns.
According to Ms. Frett, the absence of women in key leadership positions has limited the ability and capacity of women-owned businesses, including Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs), to secure the relevant support to ensure their success.
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Also speaking at the meeting, the Executive Director, Business Development FCMB, Mrs. Bukola Smith, stated that FCMB has been supporting businesses for several years and has been very deliberate in this regard for women-owned SMEs.
This includes the setting up of women in the business proposition, known as SheVentures to meet the various needs of women entrepreneurs.
The Managing Partner for SME.NG, Ms. Thelma Ekiyor, informed that the organisation, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, NACCIMA, conducted a “National Survey on the Impact of COVID-19 on Women-owned Businesses”.