By Chukwuma Umeorah

360 Woman Africa, a leadership and business skill development non-profit organization in collaboration with African Industries Group (AIG), Nigeria’s leading steel manufacturing company has given out N5 million grant to female entrepreneurs to boost their businesses even as it called on the government to improve business environment in the country.

the convener of 360 Women Africa, Yvonne Ofodile while speaking at its 2023 Enterprise Summit and Grant Awards in Lagos, Thursday, tagged “Switch It On: Higher and Better”, highlighted the challenges that women face in doing business noted that the initiative was a platform to provide socio-economic empowerment and women engagement through educational opportunities for capacity building, mentoring and networking.

In the same breath, Ofodile called on the government to play their role in the areas of good policy formation, providing access to funds and opportunities to harness the abundant human resources while improving the ease of doing business in the country.

“Government policies play a huge role in the success of failure of businesses. For instance, the recent naira policy and its impact on business, sales dropped, and inflation has eaten deep causing a traumatic effect on the economy. Another major issue the access to funds and human resource capital.”

She added that many businesses have died because of lack of funds to hire the required human expertise to run. She lamented that the laxity of the government in providing a conducive business environment had led to the exodus of many Nigerian entrepreneurs and professionals to other countries, which in turn has a damning effect on the economy.

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Likewise, she charged women in the society to be unrelenting in maximizing their opportunities innovative approaches regardless of prevailing challenges while encouraging them to increase their support for other women in business.

“Regardless of the challenges brought about by stifling economic environment, entrepreneurs should be attentive and look for ways in which they can stay innovative by employing new technologies and opportunities to push their brands and business.”

The four winners of the grant were selected from a pool of over 2000 applicants from its Enterprise Skill Development MBA programme with the first prize going home with a cash prize of N2 million with 6 months of Business Mentorship and Office Space. The second and third prize winners left with N1.5 million and N1 million respectively with 6 months of Business Mentorship and Office Space, while the fourth prize was awarded N500,000 with one-year mentorship.

The group added that 360 Woman Africa is committed to empowering women in all areas of life even as the beneficiaries were encouraged to leverage on this grant and take advantage of networking opportunities with other professions and organizations to boost their business success.

The event also featured fireside chats featuring inspiring businesswomen and leaders of thought to share their wealth of experience to equip women with personal, leadership and business skills for global relevance.