We have captured about 40,000 women entrepreneurs in Borno State alone -AWEP
Over 40,000 women entrepreneurs have been captured in Borno State by the African Women Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) under its Nigerian Green Gold Project (ANGGP).
The project director, Ora Naomi Ataguba, stated this at the weekend during a meeting with the state coordinators.
The project, according to Ataguba, was aimed at collating data of Northern Nigerian women entrepreneurs, their basic information, what they did, what business groups they were in, their contacts, and their health status, where they were working from and so on.
The “US embassy said we should do this project of collating the data of women entrepreneurs in the North and we are still in the process of collating. Though some states brought in far less than expected, other states were impressive, like Borno and Nasarawa states,” she said.
She said AWEP is a platform that provided opportunities for women in business, that run through the gamut of access to funding, proper structures, network and international market for the growth of women businesses.
On the limitations women in business faced to forge ahead in their businesses, Ataguba said “there are a lot of limitations but we are striving. There are women with products that are ready to go into the stores and there are some that are not yet ready to be in the market.
“The struggles they go through for packaging, they need softer loans to be able to do some of these things. Take for instance you have a certain type of packaging but you are advised to do a different type, maybe to get into a hotel or something, you might need to get a totally different mould, different and huge machines to be able to change that overnight,” she said.
“Another example I would give is the issue of NAFDAC and having to have a certain kind of structure. If the women are allowed to produce from their homes, the way it is done in other places; from their kitchen and such areas can be certified as okay, the areas will be better and easier for the women but we are working hand in hand with the Nigerian-American chamber of commerce and SMEDAN. We were at the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) conference and other trainings to see how we can take practical steps to get out there. Capacity is an issue,” she added.
She called on the Federal Government to, in support of its ease of doing business, provide business women with incubation centres and industrial parks where they can be for some time and thrive.
“Low interest rates and being able to access the loans, as well as softer landing pads for women to access these loans should be provided,” she further urged.