The United State-led initiative which aims to empower 50 million female entrepreneurs worldwide has commenced the inaugural Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) program by empowering 100 women.
The applicants which were selected from over 6,000 applications would be taken on a 5-day course which consists of networking and intensive workshop, with an array of facilitators.
Speaking at the inauguration, US Consul General, Mrs. Claire Pierangelo said initiative aims to reach 50 million women by 2025.
It also aims at promoting an enabling environment that reduces barriers and facilitates women participation in the economy.
She said: “These 100 women were chosen out of 6,000 applicants. That is to show how competitive it was and amazing these women are. We are looking forward to training them and they would become part of a network of mentors and instructors to train other Nigerian women.
“So it doesn’t always have to be US government, it is going to be women themselves.
“This is just a start and this is part of that 50 million women and these women would go and become trainers.
“We have decided to work in Nigeria because it is such an entrepreneurial country and there is so much entrepreneurial energy here.”
She also thanked the Lagos State government for its pledge to support women in the program.
On her part, the Executive Secretary, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, Mrs. Teju Abisoye, said Lagos would support women participating in the scheme if they are residents of Lagos and are tax payers.
She said: “The LSETF would key into the initiative to support women who are resident in Lagos, have a tax identification number, pay taxes and have business which cash flow.
“The fact that it is directed specifically at women entrepreneurship tell me that we are no longer paying lip service to gender equality especially with entrepreneurship.
“We recently launched our fund which is N4 billion and you can look at it as a portfolio size of N10 billion which is around $27 million and this would act as pipeline for us to find qualified beneficiary that can qualify to build sustainable businesses.”