BY Olaseni Durojaiye
The world over, the climb to the top through entrepreneurial pursuit can be tough for anyone, but it is even tougher for women. There are hurdles that make the journey to the top especially challenging for women, even in the most advanced economies.
Women who set out to be entrepreneurs face more daunting challenges in developing economies. Some of these challenges arise from the misconception that entrepreneurship is a man’s domain. But more women are recording successes in entrepreneurial pursuits, with some becoming chairpersons of boards of blue chip companies.
While the number of successful women entrepreneurs is growing, there are still very few female investors and start-up entrepreneurs, which can make it challenging for women to raise capital and nurture businesses from the start.
It is against this background that Phenomenal Africa Women Foundation organised the maiden edition of its Paw Entrepreneurial And Leadership Series, with the theme, “Turning Your Ideas Into Paychecks.” The event, which held recently in Lagos, had three speakers: a chartered accountant and business development facilitator, Sola Adesakin; Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators, Fola Kafidiya-Oke, and a business development consultant, Sam ‘Naike.
Speaking on the topic, “Entrepreneurs, The Enterprise and The Finances,” Adesakin said, “Entrepreneurs are people that notice opportunities and take the initiative to mobilise resources to make new goods and services. ‘intrapreneurs’ are those who notice opportunities and take initiative to mobilise resources but as employees of large companies and contribute to the innovation of the firm.”
She said that intrapreneurs often become entrepreneurs, saying the characteristics of entrepreneurs are “key personal attributes, strong managerial competencies and good technical skills.”
While stressing the importance of a business plan to the success of any enterprise, Adesakin said “Business Plan” was a step-by-step outline of how an entrepreneur or the owner of an enterprise expects to turn ideas into reality, adding that the questions to keep in mind include, “What are my motivations for owning a business? Should I start or buy a business? What and where is the market for what I want to sell? How much will all this cost me? Should my company be domestic or global?”
Against the backdrop of financing a business idea, she insisted that start up entrepreneurs “must plan realistically, not optimistically; shun the urge to overestimate profits and not underestimate your costs.”
She identified banks, venture capitalists and angel investors as possible sources through which finances can be sourced.
In her presentation at the session, titled, “Rights and Wrong of Entrepreneurship,” Kafidiya-Oke enjoined aspiring entrepreneurs to “Focus on the things you care about and translate that passion into your business, career, or life,” adding that it is pertinent to “Build a good team or invest in a good support system.” She stressed that it was important that “entrepreneurs must be resourceful, flexible, and recover quickly.”
PAW, acronym for The Phenomenal African Woman Foundation, an international non-governmental organisation, is an initiative which celebrates the worth of the African women within the continent and in the Diaspora.
Chief Executive of PAW, Mr. Taiwo Adepoju, stated that the African woman across all spheres and strata was imbued with the intent to ensure she takes her place in nation building, enterprise development and the furtherance of peace in the continent. The organisation currently has strong presence in over 16 African countries, the United States, United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates. It has dedicated members overseeing the activities of the foundation in those countries.
Adepoju said, “The whole essence of the PEALS initiative is to empower young women into becoming entrepreneurs (start-ups). There is also avenue for budding and fully established business owners to improve on ideas to better the lot of their endeavours in their chosen fields as well as networking among participants.”