NECA’S Network of Entrepreneurial Women Builds Mentorship Network

Sitting from left; Representative of the First Lady of Lagos State, Dr.(Mrs) Grace Igbokwe, Ms. Toun Okewale Sonaiya, Princess (Dr.) Vicky Haastrup, Mrs Modupe Oyekunle, Mrs. Audrey Joe-Ezigbo with a cross section of participants at the NNEW's Annual Summit

Chiamaka Ozulumba

NECA’s Network of Entrepreneurial Women (NNEW) sixth annual summit tagged ‘Power Up, NoLimitations’, was a two-day event aimed at empowering and encouraging women to embrace entrepreneurship, prosper in business for the general good of the society and achieve total well-being while impacting others.

The organisation is geared towards being the perfect network for budding generations of successful women entrepreneurs, as it aims to empower the businesses of female entrepreneurs to make a tremendous leap using what was learnt from experiences of other successful entrepreneurs.

The group seeks to effectively influence and apply government business policies while getting exposure to various venture capital and investment opportunities.

Thus, the summit focused on enhancing the businesses of female entrepreneurs with this year’s objective aimed at equipping women with the key tools and mentoring that will give them an edge and nudge them higher on the scale to do their utmost best without hindrance or distraction.

The First Lady of Lagos State, Dr. (Mrs). Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, represented by Dr. Mrs. Grace Igbokwe in her goodwill message, extoled NNEW’s impact in promoting, nurturing and impacting entrepreneurship amongst women, especially taking up pertinent issues as they relate to how women can successfully run their businesses

She said: “It is for this reason that I profoundly commend this network, which I have been told has greatly metamorphosed into a force to be reckoned with in the area of economic empowerment for women, since 2005 when this network was established under NECA”.

According to the first lady, NNEW has supported over three thousand beneficiaries with soft loans through the NNEW Microfinance Bank and corporative multipurpose society as well as business training, network forum, capacity building, business linkages, mentoring and consultancy services amongst others.

“The theme of this year’s summit ‘Power Up, No Limitations, is profoundly germane and it is a topic that we must intentionally pair up to encourage women out there, that they must not allow anything, whatsoever to limit them from achieving their aims of becoming successful entrepreneurs.

“I reckon that one of the objectives of this summit is to foster collaboration for business growth, the truth is that women must first key partners and work with such individuals or organisations to make a mark in business”.

Speaking to THISDAY, Mrs. Audrey Joe-Ezeigbo, President of Nigerian Gas Association, Co-founder and Executive Director Falcon Corporation Limited emphasised the importance of women being the ‘Eagle Entrepreneur’.

“To be an eagle entrepreneur, you must be relentless in setting and achieving your set goals with perseverance and tenacity as key factors when things go south with a ‘plan B’ always on the table.

“You need to be focused, tenacious and no be distracted when ‘storms’ surface in your business but to preserve work towards building businesses that will stand the test of time rather than crumbling when the founder no longer holds the reins.

“As an eagle entrepreneur when faced with new business opportunities, the first thing you do is ‘quint’ which is not born out of uncertainty but of focus to aid in planning, strategising different ways to achieve those goals,” she said.

Princess (Dr) Vicky Haastrup, the Executive Vice-Chairman of ENL Consortium Limited and President Certified Institute of Shipping of Nigeria spoke on the importance of being an ‘Eagle Entrepreneurs’ by pushing to be the best in their fields.

Speaking with THISDAY she said, “Women should not be fazed by the gender inequality that strives in our country rather they should create a niche for themselves where they cannot be oppressed and surpass all obstacles in their path as they have the same ‘brains as men’ and as such should stand out in all they do.”

According to her, “women should not be intimidated by any man rather they should ‘fight’ and ‘rise up’ for what they believe in, irrespective of where they find themselves sincewhat a man can do a woman can do even better.”

Speaking to THISDAY, the president of NNEW, Mrs. Modupe Oyekunle said: “NECA’s Network of Entrepreneurial Women was established in 2005 with five chapters spread across the country; Lagos, Kwara, Abuja, Rivers and Ogun state under Nigeria Employers Consultative Association.

“We are their women’s wing and their major focus it that, we create a platform for women entrepreneurs to be able to network amongst themselves to grow their businesses and the organisation boasts of a women’s own micro financed bank.”

Other speakers at the event include; Mrs Toun Okewale Sonaiya, CEO Women Radio 91.7FM; Mrs. Janet Temitope Adetu, Chief Executive and Lead Consult of JSK Consulting Group; Engr (Mrs) Chioma Okoli-Chima, MD, Olivet Cloud Solutions Nigeria Limited; Mrs. Ifeanyi Julian Etuokwu-Oludumila, Founder, Grow Your Business WithFabulousJulian; and Hajia Aisha Ali-Ibrahim, Global Convener nand Chairperson WiLAT, CILT Nigeria.