Women in Nigeria have been urged to play a more active and frontal role to stimulate the growth of businesses and overall 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 fourth edition of the Women FinancingWomen (WFW) Group meeting hosted by First City Monument Bank (FCMB) and SME.NG (Nigeria's SME Impact Investment Platform) in Lagos, recently.
The WFM quarterly meeting, which was held virtually provided a platform for women entrepreneurs to come together and share experiences on how the COVID-19 has affected businesses and proffer solutions to the various challenges posed by the pandemic.
According to 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.
She added: "The inability of women to reach the very top of leadership positions is a limitation to reach our goals. These include long term opportunities to influence the attainment of international sustainability targets in a manner that would impact positively on the well-being of women and their endeavours, especially in the area of business and other socio-economic activities".
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 a women in business proposition, known as SheVentures to meet the various needs of women entrepreneurs.
"SheVentures is a brand for FCMB's Women in Business proposition, which provides financial and business support to women owned businesses enabling them to unlock potential, scale up and build sustainable businesses with significant impact on the economy", she explained.
Smith, who is a member of WFW, noted that the FCMB SheVentures initiative was centered on four pillars - Access to capital which encompasses the SheVentures zero interest loan granted to over 160 Women SMEs since last year, Gender Intervention Funds and Equity funding through collaboration with SME.NG to give ready women SMEs access to women investors; Access to knowledge which ensures that women entrepreneurs are guided with the proper training and robust mentorship programs to help them navigate and understand the business environment; Access to network and Access to market."