The director-general of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Mr. Olawale Fasanya, has reiterated the federal government’s desire to boost women-owned businesses in the country. Fasanya said this at the opening of “Meet With the CEO” in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Abuja on Wednesday.
The director-general said that in order to ensure this, SMEDAN now has a gender desk and has reserved 50 percent of its intervention programs for women. Fasanya said that the objective of the event was to broaden and deepen the capacity of the MSME operators on regulatory issues. He said it would enable the agency to initiate need-based programs that would enhance MSMEs’ competitiveness in the global market.
He quoted the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) saying 40 percent of businesses in the country are female-led, and they contribute significantly to economic growth and job creation in the country. “These businesses led by visionary women entrepreneurs are emerging as pivotal drivers of Nigeria’s economic resurgence. And they are contributing significantly to the nation’s development across diverse sectors,” he added.
According to Fasanya, female-led businesses have continued to show resilience and a high level of optimism in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and economic downturn. He said, “Considering the impacts, female-led businesses continue to make progress in spite of the challenges they face.
The government and ecosystem players take a more intentional approach to supporting the demographic segment for greater impact, particularly since investing in female-led businesses produces ripple benefits that trigger employment generation, poverty reduction, and wealth creation.”
The director-general therefore urged the participants to interact with each other and with government officials, ask questions, and network on ways to forge ahead. He commended the ILO, their co-host, for the unwavering support towards the promotion of equal human rights, social justice, and sustainable development.
Meanwhile, the Founder of the Celina Unogwu Visioning Academy (CUVA), Celina Unogwu, reiterated the importance of having a balanced work-life as a woman entrepreneur. According to Unogwu, work-life balance refers to the intersection of work and personal life when there is equilibrium or balance between personal life and professional life. While stating the importance for entrepreneurs to be focused on their goal, she urged the participants to work hard and believe in their dream