By Chinwendu Obienyi
In a bid to provide female owned businesses across Africa access to finance, world-class business training as well as mentoring opportunities, Access Bank Plc, has announced that it will empower women entrepreneurs in its 4th edition of Womenpreneur Pitch-a-Ton Africa.
This was even as the bank revealed that over $55,000 in grants has been given to 13 women entrepreneurs since inception of the initiative.
The Group Head, W Initiative, Abiodun Olubitan, Access Bank Group, stated this at a media roundtable for the unveiling of Access Bank W Initiative: Pitch-a-ton season 4 in Lagos at the weekend.
Olubitan said that the initiative was introduced as part of the bank’s mandate to empower female entrepreneurs with financial and business skills while adding that the research before the initiative started showed that most of the women entrepreneurs lacked access to basic training and funding.
She noted that applications are already ongoing as the initiative would have about 27 winners in Nigeria and 13 others outside Nigeria.
“Last year, we had about 38,000 registrations between Nigeria and African subsidiaries. This year, we expect that only Nigeria will have about 40,000 applications. When the portal for registration opened, within 24 hours, we already had about 4,000 registrations. This points to the fact there are women who are waiting to grab each opportunity like this initiative to be successful. We have seen testimonials and we are glad that this initiative is impacting businesses.
The top seven out of 27 are going to be winning financial grants up to N5 million and the additional 20 will have consolation prizes which would include free website development, free advertisement as well for their business. This is just to ensure that it is not one winner that will take it all. Everybody is a winner. So, this year’s competition is going to be different. We started in 2019 and we have had it every year till this year,’’ she said.
The Group Head explained that those who had applied and were not lucky to be selected as one of the top 100, would be harvested into the W Community. According to her, they will have free access to information as well as use the toolkit in there, to train themselves.
Speaking further, the Coordinator, W subsidiaries, Oyindamola Oyebola, said that the 4th edition of the initiative would have Nigeria standing on its own while the other African countries would coordinate programmes from their own markets as well.
Oyebola said, “They will localise the content, making it very relatable for the women entrepreneurs in their own markets and the world also have opportunities to add extra rewards. Remember, we are offering cash prizes and consolation prizes. We have fantastic additions like insurance packages, free virtual business storefronts, investor matching opportunities, and so much more.