LASG, AWIEF sign $300m fund MOU to empower women entrepreneurs

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Commissioner for Economic Planning & Budget, Mr. Akinyemi Ashade (middle), with the Founder/C.E.O of AWIEF, Mrs. Irene Ochem (right) and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Economic Planning & Budget, Mr. Abayomi Kadir during a Press Conference on signing of Partnership Agreement between Lagos State Government and African Women Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF), at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, the Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, on Tuesday, September 27, 2016.

The Lagos State Government on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with African Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) expected to facilitate process of ensuring that women entrepreneurs have access to $300 million fund to boost their businesses.

The State’s Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Akinyemi Ashade, who made the disclosure to journalists at a media briefing at Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa, said the $300 million is a women’s Economic Empowerment Fund set aside by African Development Bank (AFDB) for empowering African women.

Ashade said, “Lagos Women Economic Empowerment Initiative (LAGOSWEEIN) is an initiative designed for the women of Lagos state for the purpose of ensuring entrepreneurial capacity building, business skills upgrade and preparedness as well as to facilitate access to finance and other services within the framework of affirmative Finance Action.

“Today’s signing of partnership agreement is a milestone between Lagos State and AWIEF and all women in the state. This partnership is reaching a major step in line with Governor Ambode agenda for women in the state, towards their strategic economical empowerment.”

The commissioner further explained that the other partnership highlights include training, business coaching and technology transfer of the women through a detailed standard operating procedure.

He assured that the state government would honour its own part of the agreement which is to pay as and when due invoices presented by AWIEF based on mutually agreed budget.

The commissioner noted that exploring collaborative opportunity in the state to derive maximum benefits for women-owned businesses was indeed a great opportunity for residents as it guarantees business and social development, financial freedom for Lagos women among many others.

Also speaking, AWIEF’s founder, Irene Ochem commended the state government for partnering with her organisation in empowering women.

According to her, the biggest challenge women entrepreneur faces is access to fund, which also informed why AFDB came up with opportunities for women to have access to finance.

“We are very passionate about women empowerment and partnering with Lagos with the largest business women is a worthy one.” She said.
Ochem pointed out that the fund is for every business women with no restriction of sectors, adding that the partnership is important as it would be about training and capacity building.

Earlier, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Rhoda Michaels Fashion Academy, Agbeyo Rhoda, expressed concerns about large number of creative youths in Nigeria yet to put their talents into good use.

She encouraged all the students to be part of the initiative, saying, “If all can be part of this, it will in no doubt grow the economy of this country”.

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