NPA MD, Bala Usman speaks to women entrepreneurs

Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman

Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), , will deliver the keynote address at the Seventh Summit of the NECA Network of Entrepreneurial starting Wednesday October 21, the association disclosed over the weekend. 

Bala Usman will be speaking on the topic: On the way to mastery: The experience of a Nigerian woman.

Other speakers at the two -day event with the theme: “Moving To Mastery” include: Mr. Idoroyen Enang, of Corporate Shepherd; Mrs. Mary Laniyan (Ovilan Consulting U.K); Mrs. Kofoworola Olaosebikan (Kofsol Group); Mr.Lere Baale, Chief Executive Business  School Netherlands;  Mrs.Funke Nnenna Micheals Kenya; Mrs. Sinmi Sowemimo of Ope Farms; and Ms. Magarita Lalayan from the  International Labour Organisation.

According to the Chairperson of the Planning Committee, Mrs. Bolanle Edwards, the annual event is targeted at the members of the Network as well as the larger community of entrepreneurs will hold real-time virtually, first of its kind.

Edwards said that every succeeding summit is always an improved version of the previous and this year edition will not be an exception despite the challenges of COVID-19. She charged participants to prepare themselves to maximise the opportunity, the learning, and the exposure “Moving to Mastery” offers.

Speaking earlier, President of the association, Mrs Funmilayo Arowoogun called for the implementation of policies that make loans available and accessible to in business as this would help them flourish as female entrepreneurs.  Noting that in the 15 years of existence, NNEW has noticed that lack of access to such facilities is one of the factors militating against female entrepreneurs.

Arowoogun said: “A woman that is empowered and able to do her business well is an employer of labour. She helps to provide job security and also contributes to the Gross Domestic Product of the country as well as reduce the gaps in employment margin.

“However, the ease for women to do business is not encouraging. Access to funding is a major issue faced by women in business.  During the pandemic, we heard about funds being released here and there but most times, the money doesn’t get to the women. Even when the funds are provided, most of the women still do not have access.”

The  NNEW president added that a lot of women are doing their best and many of them are shattering the glass ceilings, however, it would have been better if the government came up will less strict rules for women in terms of getting loans.

She added, “If the government both at the federal and state level make access to funding especially loans very easy for women by reducing the protocol involved in getting these funds, it will enable women to have flourishing businesses.

“When you empower a woman, you are not just empowering her, you are also empowering the Nation.”

The president said women have done well for themselves in business, they, however, need to do more in order to master their businesses and be on top of their games if they want to remain relevant in their industries as entrepreneurs.

Mrs. Arowoogun explained that the last fifteen years of the Network has witnessed major transformation beginning from the pioneer members who have grown their businesses to an enviable height within the business community; major achievements by successive leadership; and the current leadership and members who are doing well and making an impact in their entrepreneurial journey.

 She noted that NNEW which was birthed in Lagos currently has five Chapters in four geographical spread across the country namely, Lagos, FCT, Rivers, Ogun, and Kwara.

NNEW was established as a business women’s network that provides its members with access to information on business and socio-economic matters, opportunities for capacity building through training, and most importantly facilitating access to finance through business-promoting organisations.

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