SheTrades: NEPC/ITC Workshop Excites Women Entrepreneurs

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Jonathan Eze

The federal government’s economic diversification agenda got a boost yesterday as the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) commenced a two-day workshop for women entrepreneurs aimed at implementing the SheTrade initiatives.

Anchored by an Adviser of the International Trade Centre, Mr. Juan Hoyos, the cross-section of women at the event told THISDAY that the workshop has further equipped them to excel and soar both locally and in global business.

SheTrades was launched in July 2016 with commitment to bring 200,000 women to the global market, as part of the broader UN – Goal of connecting one million women to the international market place by 2020.

At the regional workshop held in Lagos, the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NEPC, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, explained that to achieve this commitment, NEPC organised Stakeholder’s forum in some States in Nigeria in liaison with a steering committee to further drive the SheTrades initiative.

According to him, “The Council in partnership with ITC brought together women entrepreneurs to increase their awareness on the SheTrades platform, thereby improving their visibility and the use of trade intelligence as well as strengthening the Trade and Investment Support Institutions (TISIs) to enhance policies for the benefit of the exporting entrepreneurs.

Awolowo, who was represented by Director, Export Development and Incentives, Mr. George Enyiekpon, also underlined that research shows that women are largely the driving force behind the global economy, controlling over 65% of global consumer spendings.

However, he pointed out that globally, women businesses are outperformed in less productive sectors, as owners often lack adequate access to capital in addition to the myriad of bottlenecks and complications plaguing their businesses as same also applies to all Nigerian entrepreneurs.

“Therefore, the ITC Call to Action offers a platform to rally and engage stakeholders across governments and the private sector, to address previous shortcomings and advance women’s economic empowerment. Gender equality and the empowerment of women is a prerequisite in achieving the Global Development Goals on Sustainable Development adopted by the United Nations, setting forth an ambitious development agenda to 2030”, he added.

Awolowo noted that the ITC SheTrades Initiative was an opportunity to accelerate economic growth through increased participation of Nigerian women in global trade stressing that such an opportunity was long overdue to unlock the potential of the captive ability of women who dominate the non-oil export sectors.

Over 150 participants including SMEs and Civil Society Organisations (CSO) among other stakeholders have agreed to partner the NEPC in driving the SheTrade initiative.