The 7th Summit of the NECA Network of Entrepreneurial Women kicks off on Wednesday, October 21 with resource persons including the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, brainstorming on the potential of women in business.
Usman, who will be speaking on the topic, “On the way to mastery: The experience of a Nigerian woman, will be supported by other speakers at the two-day event including Ms. Magarita Lalayan from the International Labour Organisation, Mrs. Mary Laniyan (Ovilan Consulting U.K) and Mrs. Kofoworola Olaosebikan (Kofsol Group).
Others are Mr Idoroyen Enang of Corporate Shepherd, Mr Lere Baale, Chief Executive Business School Netherlands, Mrs.Funke Nnenna Micheals from Kenya and Mrs. Sinmi Sowemimo of Ope Farms.
According to the Chairperson of the Planning Committee, Mrs Bolanle Edwards, the annual event is targeted at the members of the Network as well as the larger community of women entrepreneurs will hold real-time virtually, first of its kind.
Edwards said that every succeeding summit is always an improved version of the previous and this year edition will not be an exception despite the challenges of COVID-19.
She urged participants to prepare themselves for the summit to maximise the opportunity, the learning, and the exposure “Moving to Mastery” offers.
The President of the association, Mrs Funmilayo Arowoogun, called for the implementation of policies that make loans available and accessible to women in business as this would help them flourish as female entrepreneurs.
Noting that in the 15 years of existence, NNEW observed that lack of access to such facilitiesis one of the factors militating against women entrepreneurs.
“A woman that is empowered and able to do her business well is an employer of labour. She helps to provide job security and also contributes to the Gross Domestic Product of the country as well as reduce the gaps in employment margin.
“However, the ease for women to do business is not encouraging. Access to funding is a major issue faced by women in business. During the pandemic, we heard about funds being released here and there but most times, the money doesn’t get to the women. Even when the funds are provided, most of the women still do not have access,’’ she said.
The NNEW president said a lot of women were doing their best and many of them are shattering the glass ceilings, stressing it would have been better if the government grant women easy access to loans.
Arowoogun pointed out: “If the government both at the federal and state level can make access to funding especially loans very easy for women by reducing the protocol involved in getting these funds, it will enable women to have flourishing businesses.
“When you empower a woman, you are not just empowering her, you are also empowering the nation.”
NNEW which was birthed in Lagos, currently has five chapters in across the country in Lagos, FCT, Rivers, Ogun, and Kwara.
NNEW was established as a business women’s network to provide members access to information on business and socio-economic matters, opportunities for capacity building through training, and most importantly, facilitating access to finance through business-promoting organisations.