By OLUSHOLA BELLO, Lagos
The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) W-Initiative, a special intervention fund contributed between the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund and Access bank Plc, has commenced disbursement of affordable finance for female-owned businesses in Lagos State.
Both has a matching funds of N2 billion for female entrepreneurs at the moment; N1 billion from Access bank and N1 billion from Lagos state government.
Speaking on the scheme to media, executive secretary of LSETF, Teju Abisoye, commended the efforts of Access Bank’s W Initiative for collaborating with the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) on this laudable funding scheme.
According to her, the LSETF was set up in 2016 to address unemployment in Lagos State. It does this strategically by providing affordable financing to MSMEs in the State to increase their productivity and expand in such a way that they can employ more people. With the LSETF-W Initiative loan, we will not only be able to tackle financing gaps for female businesses but also make it affordable for them to thrive in the state.
Group head, W Initiative, Access Bank, Ayona Trimnell, said that “The W initiative is home to over 10 million female customers in Nigeria and probably the largest portfolio for female customers as well as female entrepreneurs.
“Since 2016, when we launched the W initiative, it was basically for it to be a non-stop shop for women entrepreneurs and so what we have tried to do over the last six years is ensure that we actually serve three different categories of women. We have women professionals, women in business and women at home.”
She noted that, “Many individuals especially women have encountered challenges in doing business which includes limited access to funding. This funding challenge has deepened with the pressure of the pandemic situation on the economy. Our response to this plight is to make available the LSETF- W Initiative loan which is rightly positioned to tick all the boxes for our female entrepreneurs. The LSETF-W Initiative loan is highly competitive at 10 per cent per annum, requires no collateral (fixed property), and can be repaid over a period of 24 months.”
Also, Group head Emerging Business, Access Bank, Ayodele Olojede, said that “There is so much more Access Bank is offering MSMEs which include business support services, digital payment solutions among others.
“We understand the nitty gritty of doing business which goes beyond just having capital hence, many businesses require proper structure, online presence, mentors, access to market and networking opportunities to survive in the first five years of business operations. Access Bank desires to take the pressure off the entrepreneurs in so many ways to enable them grow and succeed in their desired business path.”
The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) was established by the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund Law 2016 to provide financial support to residents of Lagos State, for job, wealth creation and to tackle unemployment.
In July 2014, Access Bank unveiled the “W” initiative to accelerate a new and stronger wave of hitherto scanty female entrepreneurs. The W Initiative remains a pioneer proposition to promote women’s economic empowerment in Africa with over a decade of active participation in creating and supporting the Women’s Market across its focus segment. Being the forerunner of the gender-focused initiative in the industry, The W initiative has yet again demonstrated a feat by supporting women especially Women SMEs during these times.