…Partnership to continue efforts to empower Nigerian women entrepreneurs
In celebration of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, Mastercard has confirmed their ongoing support of the long standing partnership with Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF) to continue efforts to improve financial literacy, technology and skills-enhancement training for women in Nigeria.
Women’s Entrepreneurship Day is part of the annual Global Entrepreneurship Week celebrated between 14 and 20 November. The day serves as a reminder that women play a vital role in economic growth. Financial literacy training and mentorship is crucial to supporting to develop and grow these women-owned businesses.
Partnerships, such as the one between Mastercard and YTF, are vital to supporting the public sector’s goals of empowering more women and sparking a culture of entrepreneurship, especially in Nigeria. It is here where the spirit of resilience can be seen – where women are empowering those in their community and sharing the knowledge they have gained by attending the YTF training sessions.
“Our focus is on providing training that leverages existing accessible technology and imparting how best to market products and services,” said Njideka Harry, President and CEO of YTF. “We are able to help these women entrepreneurs leapfrog recessionary challenges and achieve the potential for exponential growth within their chosen fields.”
To date, the partnership has impacted over 11,000 Nigerian women entrepreneurs across 14 states by improving the financial literacy of these women, often the breadwinners, and equipping them with essential business management and capacity building skills through the support of mobile technology. The partnership also gives them access to a network of empowered women.
An example of the impact made through the collaboration is Eucharia*, owner of Tokaf Investments. This 36 year old, mother of four, has grown her business by 60 percent by simply applying the principals learnt at the YTF sessions. Today she uses her mobile device to connect with customers, sharing product information and specials, and updates them on current trends in the building industry. She was also able to reassess and refocus her approach, moving out of the expensive warehouse space she previously rented.
With micro, small and medium enterprises comprising 96 percent of Nigerian businesses and with the current economic situation in the country, it has become more important than ever to support small business owners.
Putting a face to these numbers keeps the team focused on their goal of helping as many women as possible through the partnership. Nneka*, the owner of Ebony Ventures, a wholesale cooking and kitchen supply business, was shown how ecommerce could solve many of her challenges. This now confident business woman is keen to grow her business beyond Nigeria and has implemented a new pricing model to ensure the continued growth of her enterprise. As part of the training, Nneka is learning how to take advantage of online market places like Konga and Jumia to market and sell her products to a global market.
Both Nneka and Eucharia are success stories, and there are many more in Nigeria. It reinforces the importance of the training which is ensuring the sustainability of the female entrepreneurship ecosystem, a priority for both Mastercard and YTF. Moving into 2017, the partnership aims to include further training for 150 apprentices.
The apprentices are the talented young women that existing women business owners are employing, many of whom have been part of the YTF program. These young ladies will be trained and groomed to become the next generation of business owners, starting a ripple effect that will impact generations of women in Nigeria.
“At Mastercard, we believe economically empowered women are major catalysts for development,” explains Omokehinde Adebanjo, Vice-President and Area Business Head, West Africa, Mastercard. Through our partnership with YTF, we are providing women in Nigeria with the tools for economic empowerment to break down poverty cycles and create opportunities for long-term wealth. We are seeing that by harnessing the power of technology, we are transforming the lives of women entrepreneurs in the country.
To see how much of an impact the partnership has had – watch the story of Afoma Ebri, an entrepreneur from Owerri in Nigeria.