Flourish Africa, the women empowerment movement founded by Apostle Folorunso Alakija, has awarded business grants of up to N2 million to 100 female entrepreneurs out of its N1 billion fund earmarked to empower 2500 female entrepreneurs in five years.
Founder, Flourish Africa and philanthropist, Apostle Folorunso Alakija said a total of 500 female entrepreneurs graduated from Flourish Africa’s ‘Business and Life Skills Training programme,’ which was designed to provide business coaching and mentoring for female-owned Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and 100 of them received seed grants to grow their businesses.
Alakija, at the graduation ceremony in Lagos, said: “Our vision was clear from the onset. Understanding that economic inequality was still a major challenge for women in Africa, we set out to establish a platform that would allow us to empower women, who would then empower other women.
“In line with the popular saying, when you empower a woman, you empower the whole world, I am delighted to say that we are grooming the next generation of business leaders whose informed choices in business and life will positively impact their families, communities and, in the long run, contribute to the socio-economic development of Nigeria.”
Delivering the keynote speech at the event, the co-founder of Sahel Consulting, Mrs Ndidi Nwuneli, stated that women hold the key to transforming not only Nigeria but also the entire African continent.
Nwuneli noted that it has become imperative for women to rise above any stumbling block by venturing into uncharted territories to realise their God-given potentials.
She added that despite the challenging operating environment, some women have continued to shatter the glass ceilings to become great achievers and CEOs of many corporate organisations in the country.
Though these activities indicate progress, she said “that is not enough. Statistics of land ownership shows that only 10 per cent of women in Nigeria own lands and when you do not own land as an entrepreneur, it limits you from owning collateral and investing in long term assets like a factory. So, women need to become owners of assets.”
Also speaking at the event, the representative of Google, Flourish Africa’s technology partners, Mrs. Jola Oluremi-Makinde, praised the founder of Flourish Africa for equipping the women with the necessary skills and resources to scale up their businesses.
Vice-Chairman, Channels Media Group, Mrs. Shola Momoh, appreciated Alakija for providing such a unique platform where women could become financially independent and create a prosperous future for themselves.
One of the beneficiaries and president of the Flourish Africa Alumnae Association, Mrs. Hamsatu Aliu-Afegba, expressed her appreciation to Flourish Africa for the unique opportunity, noting that the grant would assist immensely in growing her business.
She said that beyond the grant, she had acquired skill sets that will remain with her for life, help her grow her business and support other women to succeed in future.