Mrs Chioma Echegwusi, Chief Executive Officer of Davichi Farms, has emerged overall winner of the ‘JAMII Femmes’ initiative, first cohort, organised by Women In Africa (WIA) for female entrepreneurs in Nigeria, with a grant of 10,000 dollars.
Mrs Hafsat Abiola, President, WIA, announced this at the closing ceremony of JAMII Femmes Programme, supported by Coca-Cola Foundation in Lagos.
Our correspondent reports that Echegwusi emerged the overall winner out of 20 top winners of the programme who also got 1,600 dollars grant each from the organisers, while other trainees got seed funding. Mrs Azuka Nduaguibe and Alero Thompson emerged second and third runner- up winners respectively.
One of the programme partners, Touch Point presented android phones to the winner and runner-ups, while the winner got a laptop in addition.
Abiola, daughter of late Nigeria’s presidential candidate and philanthropist, MKO Abiola,stated that the Coca-Cola Foundation and WIA in 2022 joined forces to support 20,000 African women entrepreneurs through the “JAMII Femmes” initiative.
She noted that first cohort of the Nigerian beneficiaries was launched on Oct.15, 2022 in Nigeria and 4,534 entrepreneurs were trained before picking the top 20 with great potential of advancing the nation.
According to her, the initiative aims to increase the impact of African women entrepreneurs on the African economy and to support the creation of innovative solutions.
The WIA president said: “This is to promote sustainable development that will contribute to positive change in Africa by improving the quality of life for tens of thousands of people.
“JAMII Femmes is a combination of languages, JAMII is Swahili, which means community and Femmes is French, which means Women, so the phrase JAMII Femmes means a ‘community for women’.
“It is a groundbreaking program designed to empower women entrepreneurs and foster economic growth and specifically designed to address the unique challenges faced by women entrepreneurs.
“This initiative aims to create a supportive ecosystem that enables women-led businesses to thrive, succeed, and contribute to the socio-economic development of their communities.
“Through targeted training, mentorship, networking opportunities and access to grants, the Coca-Cola foundation and WIA equips women with the necessary skills and resources to establish and grow their businesses successfully,“ she said.
According to her, the organisers focuses on agriculture and sustainability because a lot of women are in farming, agricultural processing, organic farming, solar or renewable energy.
She said, with support from its sponsors, the organisers would be moving to Egypt, Algeria and South-Africa to also train thousands of female entrepreneurs.
Abiola said the women are mentored to be at the forefront of helping Africa achieve inclusive growth in a green way, through job creation and contribute excellence to the Nigerian economy.
She congratulated the winners and beneficiaries of the grant and urged them to deploy the same discipline they showed throughout the journey of the programme of 18months to their endeavors to build the Nigeria and Africa of our dreams.
“We will continue to support the women going forward so that they will not fail and create hubs where the women can become very profitable and partners in success and revenue generator for sustainability,” she said.
In his remark, Mr Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) congratulated WIA for the laudable achievement, while urging the female entrepreneurs to build our nation, just as they build the homes.
Falana said the testimonials from the beneficiaries of the programme showed that there are so many successfully women professionals in Nigeria and as such promised to extend partnership to WIA.
Mrs Nwamaka Onyemelukwe, Public Affairs and Sustainability Director of Coca-Cola Nigeria commended WIA for investing in women through the JAMII Femmes initiative to build a sustainable society.
Onyemelukwe stated that the initiative is significant to Coca-Cola foundation because women are resilient and great economic multiplier and as such, will do more exploit with the right support.
“We will continue to support such programmes because women have supported us as a brand and occupies the largest percentage of our clientele base,” she said.
In her keynote address, Mrs Funke Opeke, congratulated WIA for adding value to the female entrepreneurs and the beneficiaries of the programme for the privilege to participate.
Opeke told the beneficiaries not to be derailed or stopped by obstacles,as they could arise but that they should stay focused and guided by the preparation and support they have received from WIA to produce greater results.
In her testimony, a beneficiary, Ms Precious Akhilorme, Founder, Techy Forest Academy expressed delight to be part of a community of like-minded African women sharing the same vision.
“My expectations from the training was just to learn and join a community of African women, but i was really surprised at how much I enjoyed the training.
“I was supported and motivated throughout the entire process and learnt so much. I am really grateful for the opportunity to have participated in the training,” Akhilorme said.
Other sponsors of the programme included Honoris United Universities, Deloitte, Sterling bank and Touch Point.