The Women in Entrepreneurship and Leadership in Africa (WELA), has given loans ranging from N50,000 to N100, 000 to 15 women entreprenuers drawn from different parts of the country.
WELA is a group of women in various vocations, trained on entrepreneurship and leadership responsibilities in Nigeria, Ghana and the China-Europe International Business School.
Presenting loans to the in Ikeja on Monday, the President of the 2016 Class of WELA, Mrs Yemi Chukwurah, said that the giving loans to the beneficiaries was the pilot phase of a scheme that would be extended to low-income women in different parts of the federation.
She said that WELA had taken up the initiative as part of its corporate social responsibility to lift Nigerian women out of poverty.
Chukwurah said that low-income women in Nigeria had not been finding it easy to secure small credits from financial institutions in the country.
“We discovered that most women in Nigeria are hardworking and industrious and that most of them have been in their businesses for decades.
“But a lot of them do not have capital to make the difference for themselves and their families.
“So, our idea is to give them credit which they can use to trade for a year and return without paying any interest to WELA.
“Giving them capital will help them grow and scale up their businesses.”
Chukwurah, however, advised women interested in the loans to acquire necessary skills before venturing into businesses.
“It is about time to take women seriously in Nigeria because we are focused and we can make the economy grow faster.
“When we begin to take women seriously, there will be a lot of changes in the things we do and aspire to build a greater nation,’’ she added.
Also speaking, Miss Olayinka Aworetan, the Country Manager of the China-Europe International Business School, advised government to create opportunities for women by investing in them.
Aworetan said that investing in women would engender growth and place the economy in a better footing.
“Government should see women for who they are because women are special people who can turn small businesses into large enterprises.
“My advice to women is that they should understand the businesses they go into by engaging in training.
“Every woman in business should create a customer experience by creating a data base for customers who will help to boost their business,” she said.
A member of WELA, Mrs Ngozi Nwoha, advised families to always support and give every girl-child and women opportunities to prove themselves in various endeavours.
Nwoha said that every girl-child deserved to be given impetus to contribute their quotas to nation building.
“We have seen situations where parents prefer sending their male children to schools while neglecting the girl- child.’’ she said.
One of the loan beneficiaries, Mrs Edewo Dickson, said that the facility would assist her to expand her business.
“I am into snail, plantain and spices business and I have been doing it for the past 20 years.
“Today, I believe strongly in women empowering women. I pray to make more money in the next five years, so that I can also empower other women.”
A caterer, Mrs Louis Phillip, expressed her happiness for being among the people who benefited from the scheme, saying that she was looking forward to expanding her business.
“I am into cakes and snacks, which I started five years ago. With this loan, I will be able to employ a dispatch rider and create a website where customers can easily order things online.’’