By David Oladimeji
The Group Head W Initiative of the Access Bank Plc Mrs Ayona Trimnell, has unveiled the third edition of its Womenpreneur Pitch-a-ton Africa programme to empower female entrepreneurs with financial and business skills.
The Womenpreneur Pitch-a-ton Africa programme is designed to provide female owned businesses across Africa an opportunity to access finance, world-class business trainings as well as mentoring opportunities.
Trimnell said the programme had been designed to create an enabling environment for female entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.
She noted that the bank had been a leading advocate for women’s economic empowerment in Africa.
“This is the key motivation for the ‘W’ Initiative which caters to the women economy, particularly in the areas of financing, capacity building and creating networking opportunities for women.
“We launched the first Womenpreneur pitch-a-ton initiative in 2019 in line with our value proposition to be the number one bank of choice for women in Nigeria, and we have received over 100,000 applications in the last two years.
“In 2020, despite the pandemic, we were able to expand the programme to other female entrepreneurs across seven African countries with three winners emerging from Sierra Leone, Ghana and Zambia out of 50 finalists.
“This year, we are making the programme bigger and better by increasing the numbers to 100 women entrepreneurs who will emerge as finalists,” she said.
According to her, the programme will be opening up to a total of nine African countries – Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia, Rwanda, Mozambique, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone and the Gambia.
Trimnell said the 2021 Womenpreneur Pitch-a-ton Africa programme kicked off from June 21 to Aug.13.
She explained that it would offer financial grants, an exclusive certified capacity building programme and business coaching aimed at empowering women entrepreneurs.
“Interested female entrepreneurs who meet the criteria of having an existing business for at least one year with at least 50 per cent female ownership and between the age range of 18 and 45 years are eligible and required to fill an online application on www.womenpreneur.ng
“The programme is for a three-month period comprising, 12 weeks of mini-MBA training in collaboration with the International Finance Corporation and pitching sessions to a Pan-African Jury panel where the top 100 finalists will pitch their business.