Women in Business

Dr. Shukurat Bello To Speak on Women in Business

Dr. Shukurat Bello To Speak on Women in Business and Ethical Finance

WebTV’s Islamic Finance Weekly will be featuring a robust conversation on Women in Business and Ethical Finance

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Guest: Dr. Shukurat Bello

Date: Friday, April 09, 2021

Time: 1:00PM (WAT)

Platform: Virtual Zoom Video Call

Highlights: To be deployed on WebTVng Platform, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn

Host: Bukola Akinyele-Yisau

Key Discussion Points

  • How women-run enterprises have fared in driving an ethics-based business model?
  • Islamic businesses, Islamic Finance and Ethical Frameworks
  • Women are increasingly leading C-suite teams in some of the most well-respected boardrooms globally, should we expect to see greater ethical conducts by these institutions, is ethics gender-sensitive?
  • Improving Access to Ethical Finance for Women in Nigeria
  • Principal drivers of increased ethical lending to women, especially in rural and semi-urban communities
  • Women and Capacity Building In Islamic Finance
  • Prospects for Growth in Islamic Finance in Nigeria & Opportunities for Women?

Guest Profile

Dr. Shukurat M. Bello is a Senior Lecturer at the Dangote Business School, the Sub-Dean Academics, Faculty of Management Sciences, Bayero University Kano.

She holds a PhD in Management with 15 years of teaching, research and community development.

She was the best Bayero University Kano, Bsc. Business Administration graduating student in 2002. She won Best paper Award at University of Dubai International Conference in 2018.

She presents academic paper locally and Internationally. She has authored a number of academic journal articles on women issues, business ethics, human resource management and Islamic finance.


Excellence MSMEs

Leveraging technology to optimise MSMEs, empower women

Leveraging technology to optimise MSMEs, empower women

The Team Lead, Excellence Advisory Limited, a technology business support services provider, Excellence Anurika Joshua, is leveraging technology to help Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) build structure and run their businesses with ease. She is also the founder, Techy Train, her company’s training arm, which offers technology-based vocational skills primarily to women and youths. It has trained over 3000 women and youths from across Nigeria, Ghana, United States and United Kingdom so far. She shares the inspiring story of her rise to firm and fortune, her initial challenges and plans with Assistant Editor CHIKODI OKEREOCHA.

READ ALSO: Paylink partners Google to train 15,000 MSMEs in Nigeria

Her fighting spirit is extraordinary. While women faced with the same or similar challenges as hers, when she started her entrepreneurial journey in 2019 would have probably capitulated, the Team Lead, Excellence Advisory Limited, a technology business support services provider, Excellence Anurika Joshua, stayed on, refusing to give up the fight to survive in the face of a turbulent marriage, which, by her admission, became toxic shortly after wedding in 2015.

Narrating her ordeal, Excellence told The Nation that she got married in February 2015 while a student at the University of Ibadan (UI). But, unfortunately, the marriage packed up later after what she described as “Three years of severe emotional and physical abuse, a failed suicide attempt and no job.” “I was broke and I had a two-year-old son. I was desperate to survive, pay my bills and feed my son, but the more I looked for help, the more I was exposed to harassment and abuse,” she added.

But, Excellence refused to allow the situation to break her. With remarkable grit, tenacity and instinct for survival, she succeeded in weathering the storm and founded Techy Train, which provides access to technology-based vocational skills primarily to women and youths across Nigeria, Africa and the world. In fact, she was able to keep hope alive until, as she put it, “I found technology, harnessed its power and leveraged it to earn big from my bed, working virtually for individuals and corporates.”

By dint of hard work and perseverance, the 2018 graduate of Biomedical Laboratory Sciences from the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, has carved a niche for herself in the provision of technology business support services solutions to MSMEs. She said her vision is to pioneer a paradigm shift in entrepreneurship in Africa by helping African born businesses and MSMEs build structures that are  sustainable, profitable and thrive globally.

Backed by experienced partners, an Advisory Board as well as highly motivated staff, Excellence Advisory Limited is located in Abuja. However, 90 per cent of its clients, according to the Team Lead, are outside Abuja. The company, however, takes clients globally, having been duly registered in the United States, too. But, Excellence said there were plans to expand the company’s services outside the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), even beyond Nigeria’s shores.

According to her, Excellence Advisory has a bouquet of services that have already positioned it as the destination of choice for MSMEs seeking for consultant to help them handle everything tech so they can focus on what matters most: their real businesses.

Some of the business support services that have endeared the company to MSMEs and non-profit organisations include Business Advisory Support Services (business plan development, finance model design, profit maximisation etc.); Management Consultancy Support Services (marketing template design, product design, services design, corporate communications etc.); Learning and Development Support Services (business training, customised trainings etc.)

Others are Business Operations (customer relations, cash management etc.); Process Re-engineering Support Services (creating internal structures, finance and audit processes, procurement, and supply chain design etc.); Strategic Branding Support Services (digital marketing, social media campaigns, brand statement design etc.); Info-tech Support Services (software development, APP development, website development, bulk SMS).

A key aspect of Excellence Advisory’s soaring brand, according to the Team Lead, is its subsidiary Techy Train. Registered as a business in July 2019 and formerly called Animations with Excellence, Techy Train is the training arm of Excellence Advisory Limited. The platform provides access to technology based vocational skills mostly to women and the youth. And it does this by using “accelerated learning” techniques that allow trainees to learn faster and remember more of what they learn.

As the Abuja-based budding entrepreneur explained: “The key is “involvement.” Our approach follows from the old saying: “What you hear, you forget; what you see, you remember; what you do, you understand.” Our lessons are simplified and practically tailored, which gives you an option to actually see what you’re learning beyond learning using our engaging audio + visual demonstration technique that helps you apply faster and immediately.

“Furthermore, you have an option of joining our robust internship where you get to do and grow and then earn. So, when women sign up with us, they learn, work and earn. We have trained over 3000 individuals from across Nigeria, Ghana, United States and United Kingdom. Over 20 per cent of them have gone up to get good employment in the online media space, while over 50 per cent have used the lessons they learnt to grow their business/enterprise and some have gone on to up-skill further in tech.”

The Biomedical Scientist-turned entrepreneur  emphasised: “Technology provides a level- playing ground for women across the world to work and earn good from their convenience and on flexible terms.” While pointing out, for instance, that there are thousands of women who are in the unemployed state she used to be, broke and desperate but handicapped, she said she founded Techy Train to help such women earn more money from the comfort of their homes leveraging technology-based vocational skills.

Excellence, who stated that the rate of unemployment in Nigeria is high, said women are the worst hit. She, however, added that the COVID-19 pandemic made the situation worse for them. While pointing out that the situation of women unemployment in Nigeria was more of an issue of underemployment, she said: “Women are rather exposed to vocational skills like soap making, hair making without going further to the skills for the future: technology skills.”

The Digital Skills Trainer explained that through Techy Train’s online academy, the company offers women skills like web design, effective social media management, virtual assistance, design thinking, graphic design and more.

“Our lessons are highly simplified and pre-recorded screen practical for them to access at their pace and convenience.

“The uniqueness we provide beyond simplifying their learning process is our skill bank where participants of our training who have scored 80 per cent and above in cumulative assessment and discipline are inducted into and offered opportunities to work and their skills further improved.

“We also provide technology services like digital marketing, content creation, video editing and more that aim at helping women build sustainable businesses leveraging technology to build structure and running their business with ease. We do this by teaching them how to do it themselves, doing it for them or doing it with them,” Excellence said.

But how did Excellence Advisory Limited and its subsidiary, Animations with Excellence, registered in August 2020 and July 2019, respectively, become hot items in Nigeria’s MSME space and women empowerment in such a remarkably short time to the extent that she could look back and say with so much pride and confidence that “I am beyond amazed at the rapid growth, the lives touched, level of impact reached as well as the profit made?”




AXA Mansard empowers female business owners

AXA Mansard, a member of AXA, the global leader in insurance and asset management as part of the its plans to foster women empowerment and capacity building has collaborated with SME 100 Africa to empower one female business owner at the 2021 International Women’s Day Conference.

READ ALSO: Government targeting gender-sensitive public financial management processes

The conference which held on Thursday March 4, 2020 was themed ‘Choose to Challenge: Achieving An Equal Future in a COVID-19 World’.

It held in a hybrid (both virtual and physical) format and featured sessions from various successful female business owners such as Mrs. Funke Bucknor-Obruthe, the CEO of Zapphire Events Limited and Fade Ogunro the CEO of Bookings Africa.

It also featured a financial literacy session facilitated by AXA Mansard’s investment officer, Nneoma Mere.

The highlight of the session was the business pitch session where female entrepreneurs presented their pitches and keenly competed for a prize of One Million Naira (N1,000,000) towards their businesses.

GreenHill Recycling Limited founded by Mrs. Mariam Lawani – a social enterprise that provides sustainable solutions to the waste management crisis in Nigeria through recycling and upcycling emerged as the winner of the prize.

Commenting about the pitch competition, the Chief Customer and Marketing Officer at AXA Mansard, Mrs. Olajumoke Odunlami noted that “The pitch session was a thrilling and impactful experience for me.

I am very privileged to have been a part of this session and to have seen the great things that women are doing in business.

Women are the force for change and we must continue to strive to ensure that we are visible and relentless.”

Mrs Odunlami concluded by saying that “AXA is committed to gender equality through implementation of gender initiatives as well as sound and inclusive policies, processes and culture across the organisation.

We believe that women are the key to progress as they are a vital force for growth and development around the world.

We encourage women to take advantage of our SHE for Shield initiative which is tailored towards empowering women.

Every business owner who has made a pitch here is a winner as they are all doing fantastic things with their businesses.

I congratulate the winner of the prize money, Mrs. Lawani whose company is targeted at sustainability.

We at AXA are strong advocates of sustainability and this is also reflected in our targets and policies.

AXA Mansard was incorporated in 1989 as a private limited liability company and is registered as a composite company with the National Insurance Commission of Nigeria (NAICOM).

The Company offers life and non-life insurance products and services to individuals and institutions across Nigeria whilst also offering asset/investment management services and health insurance solutions through its two subsidiaries – AXA Mansard Investments Limited and AXA Mansard Health Limited respectively.

AXA Mansard was listed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange in November 2009.


Women in Business

Nonos Catering empowers women in business

Nonos Catering Service, a fast growing catering company in Lagos, is set to empower women in catering and events business via a one-day summit with successful female professionals in the Industry.

READ ALSO: M36 redefines digital investment in Nigeria

Organised by Nonos Catering Mentoring Initiative (NCMI), the summit tagged ‘Spend the Day with Successful Business Women in Catering and Events,’ holding on March 10, 2021 at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, and would have notable successful women in the industry interact and teach the upcoming ones on how to build their businesses to become profit making ventures.

According to the managing director of NCMI, Abumere Uto’ the idea is for successful women who have reputable profit making businesses in catering and events to share their growth story to; inspire, motivate, empower and encourage the women who register to be NCMI mentees.

“By becoming a mentee, we hope that their businesses will gain more visibility, increase profit, employ better marketing strategies as well as reduce loss and wastage,” she said.

Buttressing on the vision which she birthed three years ago, Abumere pointed out that being a trainer and mentor to many women, she realised that there was a strong need to bridge the gap by bringing women at the business start-up stage to meet with established and successful women in the same line of business together.

She said: “I saw the eagerness to learn and hear the success stories of these women who inspired them on a daily basis.

“So on the 9th of March, 2018, I launched the NCMI by inviting 20 women that engage in the business of catering and events to understudy me for a day. The idea of the ‘meet and greet’ was to share my start up story, weaknesses and strengths, success stories and failures in the hope of; inspiring, correcting, motivating and empowering.

“It is my vision that the mentees of NCMI become women who network, collaborate, share business opportunities and increase the quality of their service and productivity. I want them to be women who will also increase their visibility through adverts and social media activities to create more business profitability and sales.

“Most importantly, I would want them to become mentees who will make better business decisions, reduce their cost prices and risks which in turn will guarantee the growth of their business from the time they joined NCMI.

“Through these benefits they are empowered to excel in their businesses as catering and events professionals in the Industry.”

Commenting on meeting the goals of the annual Summit, Uto who holds a Master Degree in Globalisation and Development from the University of Manchester, United kingdom, said her organising team observed the growth and keen interest of participants and decided to host a larger group as it received over 180 applications for the last mentoring initiative held on the 5th of September 2019.



FG Mulls Policy to Earmark Procurement Contracts for Women

The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs. Mariam Katagum, has said that the federal government is currently working on a policy that will earmark a certain percentage of public procurement for women owned businesses.

She also said all MSME groups and individuals would be granted level playing ground to apply and access government funding initiatives, particularly the MSME Survival Fund.

The minister spoke while she received the executive committee members of the NECA’s Network of Entrepreneurial Women (NNEW) Abuja, led by its
Chairperson, Mrs. Amina Zanna Ibrahim, on a courtesy visit to her over the weekend.

Katagum said: “Disabuse your minds about government contracts. We have this initiative that is going on about procurement processes for women.

READ ALSO: SME Loan opportunity for Studentpreneurs in Enugu.

“We are trying to take it at a policy level so that all these procurement processes will at least, try to earmark a certain percentage for women owned businesses.

“But we have to take it at the policy level because the men who are taking all the contracts will not want you to come and compete with them.”

However, the minister assured the women that the proposed framework will ensure that female entrepreneurs get a share of procurement contracts going forward.
She added that already, the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) is currently working to ensure that women are considered in future procurement.

The minister also assured that all government’s funding interventions, particularly the MSME Survival Fund scheme, which was created to ameliorate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on small business, will be administered on a level playing ground so all applicants can get equal opportunities.

Katagum added that she will consider it a major, if applicant are able to access the funds on merits and without intermediaries or any kind of influence.

She said: “When we first started this MSME Survival Fund, I told the vice president that I would think I am successful by the number of people that would say, they didn’t know anybody or they heard this on the radio, or their friends told them or they saw it on the TV-and they applied and they got it.

“And we’ve got quite a lot of testimonies of people who even said their friends told them to apply and they said leave me alone; and then suddenly, they saw that their friends got it.”

She however, promised that her ministry will work with the group towards realising a common objective to advance the interest of women owned enterprises at all times.
Earlier, Ibrahim had conveyed the women’s visit to the minister, seeking for better collaboration to better collaboration with the ministry.

To group, among other things, sought to partner with the ministry in the areas of information on government’s interventions that could benefit women as well as capacity building.