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By Dedeigbo Ayodeji
Female Entrepreneurs, Linda Ikeji, Tara Fela-Durotoye Laud Ecobank’s Women Empowerment Initiatives
Media entrepreneur and popular blogger Linda Ikeji , said she was motivated to partner with Ecobank on her “Selfmade Woman” initiative because of the bank’s various women friendly programmes, stressing that many individuals, especially women who own small businesses are supported by the bank to succeed. “When I conceive the idea of self-made women empowerment conference, Ecobank was the first bank I thought about because I love how much they are into women empowerment. They have a lot of programmes, a lot of platforms internally to help women in business. They are really into helping women reach their full potentials. Fortunately, when I met with them and told them what I wanted to do, they immediately said yes to me, and they have been fully involved and here we are today. Ecobank today is my bank of choice”.
Linda Ikeji who spoke at the “2021 Selfmade Woman Conference”, her women empowerment initiative testified that Ecobank Nigeria as a female friendly is helping women achieve their dreams and full potentials. On why she initiate the Selfmade Women Conference Linda Ikeji said “I am very passionate about women succeeding and it was very important for me to put something together as a platform where successful women would meet and mentor those aspiring to be successful. My purpose for doing this is to hopefully encourage more women to believe in themselves, encourage more women to fight for their dreams, encourage more women to know that there is absolutely nothing that they can’t achieve. I want them to hear stories of women who have achieved great feats, women who have broken tables and know that it’s possible for them to break through all these barriers, believe in themselves, see people like myself, Tara Durotoye and other women who have done amazingly well. Getting a women friendly bank like Ecobank to partner me is heartwarming”.
Also speaking, Founder, House of Tara, Tara Fela-Durotoye, applauded Ecobank for supporting women initiatives. She observed that partnering with young women and young entrepreneurs would go a long way to empowering women to play greater role in families.” I appreciate Ecobank’s various empowerment initiatives to support women and we can see the results. My advice to the bank is to sustain the initiatives”. This was the view of several other speakers which included
In his keynote address, Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan, said the decision to partner with Linda Ikeji Selfmade Woman Conference aligns with the bank’s empowerment policy for women. He noted that Ecobank recognizes women as the bedrock of most families and entrepreneurship in the society, stating that to succeed as a nation, it is imperative to recognize women’s unique potentials and support them sufficiently. Akinwuntan who was represented by Head, Consumer Banking, Korede Demola-Adeniyi reiterated that Ecobank remains a women friendly bank and have been playing the role, stressing that, the bank has many initiatives and innovative products targeted at empowering female entrepreneurs in the country.
“We have many women centred empowerment programmes such as the Ecobank Female Entrepreneurs’ Initiative (EFEI) which is designed to empower, and support women owned small-scale businesses. Under this initiative, there is special loan package where prospective female entrepreneurs could easily access credit facility with interest rates as low as 1 per cent. Through EFEI, we have trained many female business owners on digital marketing skills in our state-of-the-art Academy and have also organized capacity building workshop for them. We also have another women empowerment programme “Ellevate” for women in Business; this will be publicly launched across the country in July. With Ellevate, we want to ensure we raise and recognize our women for the significant role they have always played to ensure a better society for us all.” He said.
Further, the Ecobank Nigeria Managing Director said examples of the bank’s support to women entrepreneur includes “our long-standing partnership with Tera Kulture, that is Bolanle Austen Peters who has come out with various movies such as ‘Bling Lagosians’, ‘Moremi The Musical’, ‘Fela and the Kalakuta Queens,’ ‘The Oluronbi Musical’ and others. Recently, we also supported ‘The Wait’, a movie inspired by the popular book from renowned lawyer and entrepreneur, Yewande Zaccheaus. We are currently working with the Ogun state government to promote the Adire industry which is also primarily women driven. In the agric industry, we have supported the Anchor borrowers programme of the CBN across the six regions of the country to reach out to farmers, especially the women folk to support them financially to increase their farm size and yield capacity through the introduction of new techniques.”
The 2021 Selfmade Women conference attracted over 3000 female participants both online and at a physical event. The Linda Ikeji Selfmade Woman Conference was borne out of passion to see women succeed. it is a platform for women who want to achieve success to meet those who have already achieved success. The all-female event attracted many speakers and wide audience including potential and established women entrepreneurs, businesswomen and students. The Linda Ikeji Self-Made Woman debuted in 2013, as an advocacy project with the sole aim to mentor and provide financial empowerment to young female entrepreneurs or aspiring ones. it is essentially to build stronger economies and improve the quality of life for women, men, families and communities