Access Bank has provided over $55,000 in grants to 13 women entrepreneurs since the inception of the initiative three years ago.
This is even as the bank unveiled the fourth edition of its ‘Womenpreneur Pitch-a-ton Africa’ programme.
The programme is designed to provide female owned businesses across Africa an opportunity to access finance, world-class business training as well as mentoring opportunities.
The group head, W Initiative, Access Bank Group, Abiodun Olubitan, made this known at a media roundtable for the unveiling of Access Bank W Initiative: Pitch-a-ton season 4 in Lagos at the weekend.
The competition is open to Nigerian business owners from age 18 to 55, whose businesses are legal and registered in Nigeria. The application which opened on July 13 will close on August 19, 2022.
Olubitan said, the initiative was introduced as part of the bank’s mandate to empower female entrepreneurs with financial and business skills.
Olubitan said the initiative was designed to create an enabling environment for female entrepreneurs to grow their businesses, saying “we have just opened for application and for this year, we are going to be having 27 winners.
“Top seven are going to be winning financial grants up to N5 million and the additional 20 will be consolation prizes which would include free website development, free advertisement as well for their business.
“This is just to ensure that it is not one winner takes it all. Everybody is a winner. “So, this year’s competition is going to be different. We started in 2019 and we have had it every year till this year,’’ she said.
Also, the coordinator, W subsidiaries, Access Bank, Oyindamola Oyebola, said, the fourth edition of the initiative will be physical training, having Nigeria standing on its own while the other African countries would coordinate programmes from their own markets as well.
Oyebola said: “they would localise the content, make it relatable for the women entrepreneurs in their own markets and also have opportunities to add extra rewards.”
She said that cash prizes, consolation prizes, including non-financial prizes such as insurance packages, three virtual business loans, investors matching opportunities and other opportunities would abound in this year’s competition.
She stressed that the season four competition would create a global impact as it would produce 400 mini MBA winners, as against the 200 winners achieved in the past three years, saying that the mini MBA was an intensive training programme developed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to train women on the rudiments of business.