AfriLabs Partners Visa Foundation To Raise Topnotch Women Entrepreneurs In Nigeria

The need for government at all levels, financial institutions and relevant stakeholders to double efforts in supporting women entrepreneurs so as to fast track the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, in the country has been emphasized.

An international investment consultant, Dr. Anino Emuwa made the call in Lagos, at the unveiling of an initiative in support of women entrepreneurship in the Nigerian technology and innovation sector.

L-R: Programme Officer of Visa Foundation, Chukwudi Onike; Executive Director of AfriLabs, Anna Ekeledo and a guest at the event at the launch of RevUp Women Initiative in Ikoyi, Lagos

The initiative known as RevUp Women Programme aims at empowering over 50,000 Nigerian women entrepreneurs with training and mentorship opportunities, while offering up to one hundred million dollars as start-up capital to some of the participants.

The RevUp women programme is an initiative of an indigenous non-profit Organisation, AfriLabs which is a network of over 400 technology and innovation hubs across 52 African countries and the diaspora.

In a keynote address, Dr. Anino Emuwa, who is the Managing Director of Avandis Consulting noted that though women entrepreneurship in Africa was faced with a lot of challenges including cultural barriers and lack of access to funding, such setbacks must be eliminated for them to thrive.

Dr. Emuwa stated that no efforts should be spared in helping women attain their full potentials, so as to support their families and the nation at large.

She however urged women not to loose hope but be tenacious, persevere and constantly seek for help to achieve breakthrough.

In her words, ” Entrepreneurship is difficult particularly for women. But the opportunities are increasing . Women should be tenacious, persevere and government as well as investors need to support businesses run by women.

“AfriLabs is a fantastic initiative. It is an association on tech labs across the continent.

” What is special about this is that it is an initiative for women and provides funding for women. Women are contributors to development. It is key and important and I think this kind of initiative needs to multiply for the development of our continent.

“Female entrepreneurship in Africa is really very vibrant. We have one of the highest rates of entrepreneurship in the world. But the problem is that there are so many challenges which relate to female . These include cultural and lack of access to financing. Creating a network for support of women entrepreneurs is important”.

In her presentation, the Executive Director of AfriLabs, Anna Ekeledo suggested that developing women entrepreneurship in Nigeria requires deployment of between 25 and 50 percent of funding for startups to businesses owned by women.

Ekeledo who stressed the commitment of the NGO in raising topnotch women entrepreneurs explained that while the first pilot of the initiative would target empowering 500 participants of which 10 would receive 10,000 dollars, the future plan is to impact at least five hundred women who will create thousands of jobs.

She said, ” AfriLabs has been operating for over 12 years now and over the years we supported hundreds of thousands of women start- ups on the continent.

“The RevUp Women Initiative is aligned with afrilabs’ inclusion strategy and will offer enterprise development intervention to early-stage women-led African startups and SMEs.

“It is designed to accelerate women-led businesses into profitable and sustainable ventures that can create jobs on the continent

” For the initial pilot of this RevUp women programme, we want to train up to five hundred women and fund up to ten businesses with 10,000 dollars.

” But through our network, we want to train up to five hundred thousand women who will eventually create over one hundred thousand jobs and funds up to a hundred million dollars will be given to support some of them.We plan to build women networks”.

She further stated that beneficiaries of the programme would be connected to innovative hubs that have centres that support the training and mentorship of women entrepreneurs.

On his part, the Chief Operating Officer of the NGO, Ajibola Odukoya reiterated that women have always been in the forefront and should be empowered to contribute more to nation building.

Afrilab is being supported in the programme by the Visa foundation.

According to the Programme Officer of the foundation, Chukwudi Onike, they are working together to create an inclusive economy where women are given the necessary supports to run and thrive in small and medium scale enterprises.

The event was attended by bankers, policy makers, experts in women investment, NGO executives, media professionals and others within the ecosystem.

Application for the programme will commence on 27th February 2023.

Learn more about RevUp via https://revupwomen.com.

AfriLabs ED with a guest
AfriLabs officials
Participants
Participant confirming her attendance at the registration point

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