Women represent more than 25 percent of registered business owners in Nigeria but have access to less than 3 percent of business financing, according to the Women of West Africa Entrepreneurship conference underway in Lagos.
Gender inequality, lack of access to financing, poor infrastructure and scarcity of quality human resources are some of the forces holding back women entrepreneurs in West Africa, according to a report in The Guardian.
In the absence of these, the conference urged the region’s aspiring women entrepreneurs to adopt a positive attitude.
Despite many high-profile initiatives, funds, grants and training programs available to empower and support women, there isn’t an impartial national platform that allows all the key stakeholders to meet, said Tori Abiola, managing director of Montgomery West Africa. Abiola said that many women entrepreneurs were not aware or lacked the networking skills to take advantage of these initiatives designed for their development.
Taba Peterside spoke at the conference on the role of the Nigerian Stock Exchange in helping entrepreneurs in Nigeria. She encouraged women to use it to expand their businesses.
The Nigerian Stock Exchange, she said, has a Small and Medium Entrepreneur Board to help with financing. Peterside cited businesses managed by women that are listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange including Omatek Computers, Vono Foam and Tantalisers.