The Bank of Industry (BoI) on Wednesday, said it has disbursed N13 billion to 232 women entrepreneurs to empower them contribute their quotas to the country’s socio-economic development.
Mrs Adebisi Ajayi, Head, Gender Business, BoI, announced this at the bank’s celebration of International Women’s Day, in Lagos.
The celebration was themed, “BoI -Promoting Bold Footprints in Business.”
The celebration highlighted the developmental impact of the bank and strides women entrepreneurs had made in transforming the nation’s economic landscape.
Ajayi said that 57,850 jobs were created through the fund disbursed to women entrepreneurs in seven strategic sectors of the economy, from 2007 till date.
According to her, in line with the bank’s strategic plan, 79,000 jobs is expected to be created by 2019 from women-owned businesses.
“From the nation’s 170 million population as at the last census count, 83.33 million are women; however less than one per cent of women have access to capital from financial institutions,’’ she said.
Earlier, Mr Waheed Olagunju, Acting Managing Director, BoI, said that the bank acknowledged the role of women as a driving force for economic development.
He said that according to data from National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), 30 per cent of businesses in the country were owned by women while 40 per cent of start-ups were initiated by women.
Olagunju said in response to the role of women in the country, “BoI doubled its support for female entrepreneurs in the last two years”, he mentioned.
The acting Managing Director was represented by Mrs Toyin Adeniji, Executive Director, Financial Inclusion and Micro Enterprise Directorate.
Mr Joseph Babatunde, Head, Large Enterprise, BoI, said that access to capital had been an impediment to many women entrepreneurs because of financial institutions emphasis on collateral as against cash flow.
According to Babatunde, supporting women entrepreneurs will translate to increase in overall global income per person, create more employment and reduce social issues.
“It is projected that by 2025, if more women are encouraged to embrace business, the overall GDP will be $28 trillion,” he said.
Mrs Affiong Williams, Chief Executive Officer, Reel Fruit, said that there was a need to improve SME funding towards achieving inclusive growth in the country.
She said that opportunities abound for women to participate in agribusiness and transform their social status through promotion of their products beyond the shores of Nigeria.