As part of events marking the International Women’s Day 2019, Access Bank celebrated women entrepreneurs in grand style.
The event which was the Access Bank International Women’s Day Conference brought together women entrepreneurs within and outside Nigeria.
Held at the Eko Hotels Convention Centre, Lagos, Nigeria, the Conference provided an opportunity for women entrepreneurs to brainstorm on issues affecting women in business.
MD’s Welcome Address at Conference for Women Entrepreneurs
In his welcome address, the Group Managing Director of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe described investment in women as being critical to productivity growth.
Citing a world bank statistics, Wigwe said achieving gender balance in line with the event theme “Balance is Better”, could result in a 40% rise in per capita productivity.
Herbert Wigwe called on women to tap into the various specially designed financing options provided by the Bank in order to move their businesses forward.
While calling on women to leverage technology to optimize their business processes, the Access Bank GMD expressed joy for being part on efforts and mainstreaming gender in financing.
The International Women’s Day Conference which was part of Access Bank’s The W Initiative featured several powerful sessions.
The deep dive sessions comprised two sessions. Session 1 focused on the Levers for business growth. Here, women were engaged on how they could leverage finance as a practical tool to grow their businesses.
Session 2 focused on women and innovation. Here, women learnt how they could build smart businesses through innovative interventions like technology, product and service differentiation.
Panel Session 1
On the panel of session 1 were very dynamic and successful women entrepreneurs and financial leaders. Titi Osuntoki, the Executive Director, Business Banking of Access Bank who was on the panel said most women don’t position their businesses to be investment ready.
She called on women-led businesses to ensure proper record keeping, register their businesses and ensure that they maintained a good (not necessarily bourgeois) financial record so as to be able to access financing.
Mrs Osuntoki also informed the participants of financial products launched by Access Bank to allow women access the funding they needed to take their businesses to the next level.
Other very successful women entrepreneurs shared very inspiring stories of how they were able to strategically leverage financing to grow their businesses.
We had Adebola Adefila who is the Chief Operating Officer of Banrut Rolls Nigeria, Nigeria’s second largest tissue paper manufacturing company.
On that very exciting panel discussion was also Oluwatosin Onigbanjo, The Chief Executive Officer of Augustsecrets who thrilled the panel about how she started her businesses as a hobby and has now grown it into a very profitable business.
The only male member of the Panel was Chukwuka Monye, Managing Partner at Ciuci Consulting. He urged women to endeavor to understand their businesses properly be approaching financiers. According to him, this will reduce the odds of getting rejection by financiers.
There was a question and answer session anchored by the panel session moderator, Omilola Oshikoya, Founder at Tech World of Finance.
A drama presentation followed the question and answer session.
Panel Session 2
The second Panel session focused on women and innovation and had very powerful and dynamic innovators on the panel.
We had Patricia Nzolantima, the Chairwoman at Bizzoly. The panel also had Kofo Akinkugbe, the MD/CEO at Secure ID, Africa’s largest makers of electronic ID chips, ATM cards, SIM Cards etc. Temie Giwa, the CEO of Lifebank and Tosin Durotoye, Founder at Bloom Africa were also on the panel.
Panelists moderated by Didi Akinyelure, an award winning journalist with CNBC Africa inspired the participants to think differently about innovation.
They maintained that innovation was very critical to the survival of businesses in today’s very dynamic business environment.
According to them, women entrepreneurs should embrace technological innovation in their business in order to remain competitive. In fact, the panelists unanimously agreed that businesses that don’t innovate are dead.
Tapping from their personal experiences, the panelists gave useful insights on how women can leverage financing to support their business innovation.
A thought provoking question and answer session followed the panel discussion.
Adeyinka Adekoya, the MD of Wapic Insurance educated participants on the essence and modalities for procuring insurance policies for their businesses.
After the closing remarks by the Head, Women Banking at Access Bank, Ada Udechukwu, all the participants were treated to a sumptuous buffet.
The event was brought to a close with an after party which featured DJ Spinall at the Controls while Falz the Bad Guy was on hand to thrill the participants.
Participants at the event expressed excitement for being part of the event. They looked forward to the next edition of the event in 2020.