Cherie Blair, wife of former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has described SME as a strong tool for economic growth. Blair, who was briefly in Nigeria recently to lend a support to the Nigerian SME, attended the graduation ceremony of the Lagos chapter of women entrepreneurs selected from various parts of the federation. The programme which was tagged ‘Road to Women’s Business Growth’ was run by the Enterprise Development Council at Pan Atlantic University, Ajah.
The 6 weeks programme was an innovative initiative designed to increase women’s access to financial services and markets as well as provide training on investment readiness. The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, which provides technology, networks and access to financial services to women in developing and emerging economies, co-sponsored the programme alongside the Exxon Mobil Foundation, Enterprise Development Centre (Pan Atlantic University) and Emerging360, a boutique consultancy promoting sustainable development through blended web and mobile e-learning initiatives.
The wife of the former Prime Minister set the tone for the day while delivering the keynote address, where she pointed out the need for the graduates to utilise their new skills and knowledge in becoming even more successful and growing business owners, so that they can contribute to the economy and have a stronger voice in their societies, resulting in a brighter future for women themselves and their communities as a whole.
The programme involved training 500 successful applicants in three centres, Lagos, Abuja and Uyo for over a 6 week period, through a blended series of classroom workshops and e-learning. Meanwhile, the organisers have further stated that 100 of the 500 business women will be chosen to receive further support in the form of tailored business training and services and ongoing mentoring for over six months.