How women entrepreneurs can grow their businesses

The Chairman, First Bank Nigeria Limited, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, has given women entrepreneurs some tips on how to put their businesses in the global markets.

She spoke during the First Gem 4.0 conference held in Lagos, with the theme: ‘The Art of Negotiation’ and convened to provide women with insights on the secrets of wealth management, investment and savings.

According to Awosika, women should create advantage for themselves by being informed about their environment, including having understanding of government policies.

She said: “If you do not know the direction of government policy, you cannot know if you are working against the direction of such policy and that will leave you in the dark.  It is important you create advantage for yourself, so that you can compete. And part of that advantage is in you educating yourself, so that you will be able to compete.”

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According to Awosika, the way the world is structured makes room for small businesses that understand the power of connectivity to thrive.

“ It does not matter how little your business is, or the products you are dealing with, there is a global reference point, that affects what you do, at the corner of your room. Because every action somewhere has a ripple effect that will eventually land at your doorstep, your ability to survive situations like that gives you an edge,” she said.

Continuing, she said: “No matter how little your business is,  the connectivity across the whole world will affect it. It is important that you pay attention to what is going on around the world. Pay attention to political issues, because political issues from around the world and local environment impact the economy of your country and your business,” she said.

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Also speaking, Chief Executive Officer FirstBank Nigeria Limited, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan said  the bank will continue to support women-led businesses which he said have accessed of N58 billion credit from the bank.

He also said FirstBank remains committed to supporting women-owned businesses and the economy generally with its expanding retail lending as well as its drive for financial inclusion.

He said: “FirstBank, through the FirstGem initiative is committed to supporting the contemporary woman’s financial services needs across the various stages of her life.

“Our FirstGem value proposition provides real solutions to challenges faced by female entrepreneurs and working professionals.

“Today, our work is more important and impactful than ever! A review of the performance of the FirstGem initiative shows the effectiveness of our efforts to elevate and empower the Nigerian woman.

“In 2020, we gave out loans of NGN 58 billion to over 81,000 female entrepreneurs and professionals.”

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Furthermore, he added: “Empowering women via agent banking proposition is one of the outcomes of the FirstGem initiative.

“Across our agent banking network, the largest verified bank-led agent banking network in Nigeria, we have about 24,500 female agents representing 28 per cent of the agents in our network. It gives us much joy to see that more women are embracing this proposition and getting empowered.”

He noted that the FirstGem Initiative takes an inclusive approach to empowering women with respect to their business, family and future.

Also speaking,  Head of Consulting at Agusto Consulting, Jimi Ogbobine,  urged participants to ensure they capitalise on the growing e-commerce space.

He said: “e-Transactions in Nigeria is now larger than the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria even without the telcos putting full hug into it.


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