We have cap­tured about 40,000 women en­trepreneurs in Borno State alone -AWEP

Daily Trust - - BUSINESS - By Lat­i­fat Opoola

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.

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