The African Women Power (AWP) Network, a social enterprise based in Lagos, has partnered with Shoprite Nigeria to launch a vendor program that will aid in increasing the number of women entrepreneurs who supply to Shoprite.
This was disclosed by AWP Network founder, Mary Olushoga. According to her, Nigeria needs more success stories which is why AWP Network is developing this program to support and facilitate the rise of manufacturing, innovation and entrepreneurship among women.
“This we believe will help to reduce Nigeria’s high unemployment rate. We truly believe that this program is great for Nigeria’s community and economic development. For this project, Shoprite Nigeria Limited is one of our founding partners.”Mary Olushoga
How AWP Network Vendor Program Works
The AWP Network Vendor program is a capacity building program for local vendors seeking professional guidance regarding best practices and guidelines to become vendor suppliers.
The AWP Network Local Vendor Program in collaboration with Shoprite Limited Nigeria will provide a real-life opportunity for women entrepreneurs in Nigeria to get their products out into the market place.
Vendors are also provided with the opportunity to pitch their products for consideration as a supplier to various program retail and institutional partners.
Interested vendors are to apply for the program through awpnetwork.com.
How will it benefit Nigerian Female entrepreneurs?
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, many people have been put out of jobs, and this includes women from various organisations. The AWP Network Vendor program was created to aid in reducing the number of these unemployed women in the country.
By launching the program, they would create an opportunity for young and old talented women in the country that produce or offer goods and services, to put out their products to the general public. Considering the fact that Shoprite is one of the biggest retail enterprises in Nigeria, it would be easier for these goods to spread across the country.
This move would help in fighting some of the challenges Nigerian female entrepreneurs face in their various businesses.
Challenges Nigerian Female entrepreneurs face
Women-owned businesses still face a set of challenges that continue to limit their growth. Here are some of those challenges;
Limited access to funding
This is the biggest challenge faced by women-owned businesses across Nigeria as access to capital is crucial to any small business’ growth trajectory. Women face greater obstacles than men when starting and growing a business, especially when it comes to venture capitalists, financial institutions, and other lenders.
And when they eventually access required capital, the interest rates are rather steep and this tends to handicap the business over the long run. For women-owned businesses to thrive, it is vital for the Nigerian society as a whole to ensure that women have equal chances to do great things.
Critical cultural limitations
While times have changed, women entrepreneurs, however, still face the unchanging challenge of cultural limitations. The cultural values across Nigeria are such that the man/husband is the head of the household and as such automatically expected to be the breadwinner.
A situation where there is a deviation and the women start to exhibit entrepreneurial prowess, it is assumed that she is domineering and maybe even disrespectful to her husband, who should be the one in charge. This is very discouraging and has been a huge reason why many women-owned businesses have drowned even before they got the chance to swim.
Lack of Role models and limited mentorship programmes
Quality mentorship plays a huge role in the success of entrepreneurs and their business. It is particularly helpful for women to be enrolled in mentorship programmes or have mentors who have faced the same challenges they have. Nigerian women entrepreneurs, however, do not have this support network and end up drowning in the face of even the most trivial obstacles.
In fact, a number of female founders report that lack of available advisers and mentors has been a huge limitation to their professional growth. While there are a few expert organizations and groups like WIMBIZ e.t.c, more institutions need to be set up and women-focused networking events held to encourage the women so as to spur growth in their businesses as well.
This is a huge issue that has specifically affected the presence of women in the Nigerian business and tech scene. Majority of people still like to think that certain businesses or tasks are better handled by men than women. You rarely see women driving a commercial bus, working as a mechanic or running a tech startup as the society often assumes women are generally incompetent in certain fields of work.
Women now think twice before owning or delving into certain businesses because of the stigma that could come with it. And while you think this challenge may be uncommon, it actually has played a strong role in hampering the proliferation of women-owned businesses
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