A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Project Enable Africa, in a collaboration with the United States Government have officially launched the 2021 edition of Business Support Program for female entrepreneurs and dedicated it to support women living with disabilities in the country.
The programme, in partnership the the US government through its Embassy in Nigeria is designed to provide training, mentorship and create opportunities for business expansion and increased profitability of the female entrepreneurs living with disability across Nigeria.
Speaking to newsmen at the official launch of the new edition dedicated to businesses led by female PWDs, Olusola Owonikoko, the founder and Executive Director of the NGO recalled that the first edition of the programme was launched in 2020, even as it intensified advocacy for their rights in the last six years.
Owonikoko said, “We are excited about the quality of participants from across the federation shortlisted for this cohort, which officially commenced today, with the orientation. The program is strategically designed to provide business support to at least 50 female PWDs-led businesses in Nigeria”
While acknowledging the funders of the project, Owonikoko said “We appreciate the partnership and support of the US Embassy in Nigeria and the fact that this particular edition of the Business Support Program is solely dedicated to women with disabilities in business.
“The Business Support Training is the first of its kind, in Nigeria, targeted at providing inclusive business support content and resources for PWDs in areas such as business mentorship, access to market, funding linkage, legal counsel, the need for digitalization and financial management.”, she explained.
Further explaining why women require this kind of support, the founder narrated that “businesses have an important role to play in advancing gender diversity and inclusion, and when women thrive in business, it has a ripple effect on the family, the economy and the social development of the society at large.”
The Cultural Affairs Officer for US Embassy, Madison Conoley, while delivering a keynote addresses at the orientation program which was held via Zoom, assured that the government would continue to offer adequate support to Nigerians.
According to him, “this year, we’re observing 60years of bilateral relations between our countries. To achieve our set goals of human security, economic development and prosperity, democratic governance, technological advancement, we need the inclusion and contribution of all citizens”.
The US mission through her embassy in Abuja and consul in Lagos provide tactical support to the Nigerian government with respect to policy and its implementation on inclusion.”, the US Cultural Affairs Officers highlighted.
At the close of this remark, Conoley advised participants to take charge of the project because it is a springboard for their businesses. “Projects like this showcase the talents of persons living with disabilities”, he added.
The Lead Faculty of the Business Support Program, Kola Olugbodi urged participants to take advantage of the quality faculties that will be coming their way on a platter of gold. He also encouraged participants not to be discouraged by their disabilities but rather challenge themselves to scale through.