Incentivising Female Entrepreneurs

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Young and promising career-oriented women were recently given incentives by way of instant scholarships for entrepreneurial training in China, while several others got scholarship opportunities to launch their careers and be trained abroad in the aviation industry at the just concluded Women in Leadership and Career Empowerment Programme Africa mentorship workshop. Mary Ekah writes

An initiative of the MMS Plus Woman of Fortune Hall of Fame (WoFHoF) initiative, a non-profit organisation, the workshop assembled resource persons who are professionals in different sectors of the economy to impact a selected group of younger women who are students, graduates and career makers from different companies. Different speakers who delivered papers at the two-day mentorship programme held in Lagos, advised on making choices as the key to making a successful career and good home.

MMS Plus Woman of Fortune Hall of Fame initiative is focused on role-modelling, capacity building, and leadership creation in young women. It has discovered and inducted 48 women of substance from across Africa into the hall of fame. These women are the mentors being paired with the mentees.

Two mentorship candidates were given instant scholarship for entrepreneurial training in China, while several others got scholarship opportunities to begin career and be trained abroad in the aviation industry.

Speaking on the topic, ‘Making a Career in Politics: Prospects and Challenges for Women’, the former PDP Women Leader, Lagos State, Chief Shola Benson-Oladeinde, advised that young women should have passion and also show love for their people if they should go into politics. “Once you have a passion that you want to be a politician then you should get yourself prepared. Another most important thing is that you must have a good source of income if you must be a good politician, so that you would not come into politics only bent on making money. So once you have a job, you would have your job running and then you would also have the passion to assist your people and also fight for your people.”

Benson-Oladeinde encouraged young ladies to avail themselves the opportunities in politics, to serve and make remarkable impact in society, particularly to better the lot of women.
She said that, contrary to a popular mindset that politics is a dirty game, the educated and young people going into politics could achieve the desired change by making the difference.

Asked if today’s politicians are worthy role models that the young ones should emulate, she said, “Although many people today get involved in politics for their own selfish interest, solely because they do not have any source of livelihood so that whatever money they see, they want to pocket all. If they have a source of livelihood, they would have been working to sustain their families and while they are in politics they would be sincere and focused on taking care of people in their constituencies, so most of the politicians today are not doing the right thing. So whoever the masses want to vote into political office must be sure that he has a good source of livelihood and at the same time has a genuine love for his people.”

She therefore called on young people who have ambition to be future politicians to ensure that they go to school. “Politics is not for dropouts, these days we want people who know their onions, people who are graduates and know what it takes to be a politician.
Managing Director, Le Look Nigeria Limited, Mrs. Chinwe Ezenwa, another resource person who spoke on ‘Career Management and Work Life Integration’, described the MMS mentorship programme as historic, noting, “As far as I am concerned, this is a bold initiative because this is what survived the Igbos right after the Civic War. The act of mentoring is what made the Igbo nation what it is today. So for him to initiate it mostly amongst women who are nation builders, is highly commendable and I think we should encourage him and I think many more women should come out each one to teach, and I am ready for it.”

Sharing her experience as a young lady who was able to succeed by remaining focused and staying with the right choices, Ezenwa advised young women on the need for making the right choices.

“What I am saying is that life is all about choices we make and you would agree with me that it is the choice you make today that determines your future tomorrow,” she said. “If you make good choices, you get good results and if you make bad choices, you get bad result. You have to be determined, focused and hardworking. You must also be ready to juggle your family life with your career life and as a woman, you must be multitasking. Do not neglect your family life for your career life because that is what is causing broken homes today and a lot of delinquencies are coming out of broken homes today. You must be a diehard workaholic for you to succeed as a woman. And to get what you want, you must also let others get what they want.”

Speaking also, Chief Eugene Nweke, a former president of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) delivered his paper on ‘Making a Career in the Maritime Industry: Opportunities and Challenges’.

While exposing the mentees to the various sub-sectors of the maritime industry as well as encouraging them on the opportunities that abound for women in the industry, Nweke stressed on the need for a personal drive to make headway and succeed in the industry, irrespective of the challenges people may face.

Explaining why his organisation has suddenly delved into the empowerment of young women, the Convener, Kingsley Anaroka, said, “we have been into MMS Hall of Fames and we have done several editions and the next edition is holding by October. The Hall of Fame is actually about discovering and celebrating people, especially women, who have excelled in different fields of endeavours and then the idea of assembling them is to be able to have them mentor the younger generation.

“So in essence, what we have here today is the second phase of the MMS Hall of Fames. Over the years, we have always had the issue of appealing to people for support and so this year we decided that instead of continuing to beg people to support us for the annual event to hold, we decided that we have to go full fledged NGO. So today as it is, MMS Women of Fortune Hall of Fames, is a full-fledged non-governmental organisation in Nigeria and we are already spreading our tentacles beyond Nigeria to Africa.

“So as it is now, this is the second phase and what we have here now is under the scheme called, Women in Leadership and Career Empowerment Programme (WILCEP). We would be having programmes under this scheme from January to December every year. So this is the second leg of the Hall of Fame and then the third one is when we are able to match make the mentees you have seen here today with the Hall of Famers, and they would have a minimum of six months for the mentorship and we would be doing this annually,” he explained.

On why he is focused on women specifically, he said, “I am focusing on women because I love women. I have a passion for what I am doing. I am one person who does not like seeing women being maltreated. One thing I hate most is seeing a man beat his wife. No matter the level of provocation, don’t touch your wife but the fact remains that I have the passion for touching lives, I discovered that I have this bias for women. May be it is just a natural calling.”