According to the World Economic Forum, women are seen as the future of Africa, being one of the largest contributors to economic growth and having the highest entrepreneurship rates in Sub-Saharan Africa. Interestingly their contributions are not fully maximized as there are vast potentials not harnessed due to barriers such as finance, manpower, skillset, technology and more. Access Bank’s W Initiative offers women across various segments opportunities to new markets, access to affordable finance and capacity building programs in addition to a wide array of financial and lifestyle offerings.
Launched in 2019, the Womenpreneur Pitch-A-Ton was the first women-in-business support initiative of its kind in the industry offered by the Access Bank W Initiative. The program in its maiden edition provided financial grants worth N9Million to the top 3 applicants with a free mini MBA certification for 50 women entrepreneurs in Nigeria. This it did in conjunction with the International Finance Corporation (IFC, a member of the World Bank Group). This year, the program is being extended to 6 other African countries where Access Bank’s W initiative has its presence. These countries are Nigeria, Ghana, Rwanda, Zambia, Sierra-Leone, Gambia and Congo hence the tag name “Womenpreneur Pitch-A-Ton Africa”.
The Womenpreneur Pitch-A-Ton Africa is targeted at women above the age of 18 years who have been in business for at least one year.
Speaking on the initiative, Ayona Aguele-Trimnell, Group Head, W Initiative Access Bank stated that the Pitch-A-Ton is an expansion of the Womenpreneur Business Workshop, under the Bank’s women proposition. She further commented: “Having had a successful program last year, we are really excited to take it a step further by extending this opportunity to more women entrepreneurs trying to power the wellbeing and growth of their societies. This time around, we will provide up to N9 million financial grant and a unique capacity building program aimed at empowering women entrepreneurs.”
"Access Bank has been a leading advocate for women’s economic empowerment in Nigeria and this is the key motivation for the W Initiative which caters to the women economy particularly in the areas of capacity building and creating networking opportunities for women,” she added.
Ada Udechukwu, head, Women Banking, explained the mechanics for participation: “Interested persons who meet the criteria are required to fill an online application. The five hundred candidates selected from this pool will then send in a sixty seconds video pitch which will be screened by a credible panel of business experts to select fifty finalists.”
The Pitch-A-Ton is designed as a 3-month virtual Programme incorporating pitching sessions and an 8-weeks intensive mini-MBA online training and business coach in collaboration with the IFC. Also, as part of the graduation requirements, the fifty finalists will pitch their businesses, infusing learnings from the mini-MBA and will stand an opportunity to win financial grants up to N5 million.
Call for entries will commence in June 2020 and end August 2020, more information can be accessed from www.womenpreneur.com.ng.