Friday, March 31

Tribute to Womenpreneurs: The rise and rise of Nigerian women in business

By Don Ebubeogu

All over the country, in the past few years, Nigeria has seen an increase in entrepreneurial opportunities available to women who are looking to lead and succeed in their businesses.

COVID-19 pandemic aside, the attitude towards entrepreneurship is changing among women, more especially among the younger generation who now prefer entrepreneurship to employment.

Available records show that women entrepreneurs have gravitated toward consumer, retail and service sectors, though with little impact on the capital-intensive manufacturing sector.

Previously, in the Nigerian economy, where women are arguably more educated than men, women were not thinking about starting a new innovation-driven business. They were also reluctant to expand their business or venture into new and less tested markets. Today the story is different. Women are becoming daring and courageous too.

Some factors limit entrepreneurial success among women which includes lack of education on entrepreneurship, alternative funding, self-doubt and the unwritten rule to seek approval from society/family in some cases.

Women are naturally multi-task-driven but when it comes to entrepreneurship, they encounter the challenge of balancing work and relationships. Being a womenpreneur is hard work and extremely stressful, especially where a balance between family and business needs to be achieved.

So womenpreneurs usually face the challenge to overcome the self-limiting belief of being a perfect mother, wife, sister, daughter, entrepreneur, and woman all at the same time.

Again, things are changing, positively.

I was a panellist in the just concluded National Conference on Non-Oil Export organized by Nigerian Export Promotion Council at Abuja. At the exhibition hall, I saw more exciting products made by women than men. I saw determination and focus. I saw the future of the renaissance of the middle class driven by women SMEs.

Hon. Chris Emeka Azubogu was also present. He was busy having deep discussions with strategic partners on how to help SMEs in Anambra State to queue into the Non Oil export initiative of the Federal Government. His presence and that of Ofor Francis Anatogu of AfCTA should be applauded. They made invaluable contributions to the subject matter at the conference.

Within the list of my friends, I have women who are into paint manufacturing, the food service sector, hair cosmetics, soap products, fashion and event management. And they are all doing exceptionally well with an enviable touch of class.

It is believed that women understand disruption, embrace transformations, welcome innovations, and excel with fewer resources than men. I’m sure we are witnessing a revolution that will chunk out many womenpreneurs to save a dying nation economically.

“If a woman is sufficiently ambitious, determined and gifted there is practically nothing she cannot do.” -Helen Lawrenson

Don Ebubeogu is Chairman of Tiger Foods, Onitsha

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