Ogun State government has advocated for strong initiatives to prioritise financial inclusion, gender-responsive policies, and supportive networks for women-led businesses to thrive in Nigeria.
The state’s Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Adijat Adeleye, disclosed this at the 9th Policy Dialogue Series on Entrepreneurship by the FATE Foundation in Lagos, themed: ‘Enabling Nano & Micro Women-led businesses to thrive in Africa’.
According to her, the proposed initiatives being a combined effort of government, non-governmental organisations and public spirited individuals would serve as catalyst for transformative forces, addressing unique challenges, and transforming lives while contributing significantly to national economic development.
She stated: “When women excel in business, they reinvest in education, healthcare, and society. This is a call to empower and honour these change-driving entrepreneurs. Let’s champion gender equality and economic empowerment, laying the groundwork for an inclusive, and prosperous future. Together, let’s make this vision a reality, enriching not just women, but our entire communities and nation.”
Adeleye expressed concerns that in Africa women entrepreneurs in nano and micro enterprises remain crucial for financial growth, but grapple with limited finance.
She said initiatives like “Nigeria For Women Project” and Ogun State’s “Oko’wo Dapo” had empowered women with grants, training, and networks, saying the present administration has impacted over 100,000 women, breaking barriers and fostering economic resilience.
“The Ogun State-led “Oko’woDapo” programme valued at over N1b supports women and youth in SMEs with grants ranging from N320,000 to N400,000. Operated via Women Affinity Groups (WAGs), it builds social capital and financial inclusion. This strategic initiative removes barriers, enabling grassroots enterprises to flourish, transcending politics and administration. It empowers women entrepreneurs, fostering economic growth within Ogun State”, she said.
The Director, FATE Institute, Amaka Nwaokolo, said that nano and micro businesses contribute about 43 per cent of the nation’s GDP, adding that challenges including multiple taxations, access to credits, growth and operations, technological issues and socio-cultural biases are barriers that must be tackled to ensure genuine empowerment for women-owned business, thereby ensuring gender equality in the society.
Nwokolo added that there must be deliberate economic empowerment initiatives and policies from the nation’s regulatory agencies through deliberate affirmative actions to enable women entrepreneurs to operate seamlessly.