40% of Women in Nigeria Run Their Own Business but Need Support

Posted by on June 2, 2017 in Entrepreneurship, World

nigeriaJJNigeria is the leading economy in Africa right now. It’s also an exciting place to be a woman entrepreneur—a place where 40% of the women run their own business. However, it is not always easy to run a business, as the country has its difficulties and challenges. Nigeria currently ranks 170 out of 189 in the World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking. The problems range from power supply—especially if running a manufacturing plant—to the promotion of African products, and there is a long way to go in consumers accepting products that are not made abroad.

Yet the biggest hurdle facing female entrepreneurs is the one of gender inequality, which places women in business at a disadvantage. Therefore, support and mentoring is critical for start-ups and young female entrepreneurs. That’s why the social enterprise, She Leads Africa, runs an intensive, ‘She Leads Africa Accelerator (SLA)’, three-month program. It’s designed to identify, support and fund the next generation of Nigeria’s brightest women entrepreneurs.

This Accelerator is run in partnership with Guaranty Trust Bank and the Work in Progress! Alliance—a consortium of Oxfam, Butterfly Works and VC4Africa focused on driving job creation and youth employment in Nigeria—and the lead sponsor, Guaranty Trust Bank. The Accelerator itself is an extension of the She Leads Africa Entrepreneur Showcase, which made history two years ago as the first ever Pan-African pitch competition for women led businesses.

The three-month SLA Accelerator includes a week’s residency where entrepreneurs receive training from the SLA team and their network of business leaders and experts. During these residencies, entrepreneurs will focus on growth, marketing and distribution. After each residency, the entrepreneurs will return home for three weeks to implement the lessons they’ve learnt. During this time, they will be remotely monitored and have access to a whole suite of online resources through both SLA and VC4Africa platforms. The Accelerator will end with a Demo Day where businesses will pitch to local and international investors and compete for N 2million.

Nigeria like the rest of Africa has huge hidden economic potential in its female entrepreneurs who need business support to generate sustainable and living incomes. Projects like SLA are necessary to harnesses and empower Nigerian women entrepreneurs. They want to be taught and mentored, which will help set them on a road to growth, enabling them to expand their businesses, strengthen their financial security and drive development in their communities.

Photo Credit: SLA

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