Charting a New Path: Stakeholders Validate Blueprint for Women's Entrepreneurship Development & Enterprise Formalization in Nigeria

International collaboration and commitment set the stage for a three-year strategy to bolster women's entrepreneurship and enterprise formalization in Nigeria.

News | 29 October 2023
Abuja, Nigeria. A comprehensive roadmap and implementation monitoring framework aimed at fostering an enabling environment for women's entrepreneurship development and enterprise formalization in Nigeria received validation from a consortium of stakeholders. This milestone initiative, led by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) in partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and other key stakeholders, was supported by the ILO’s "Promoting Gender Equality Through Women’s Entrepreneurship Development and Enterprise Formalization in Nigeria."

The validation workshop convened in Abuja on September 29, 2023, convened high-level representatives from approximately 50 institutions, including federal and state ministries, regulatory bodies, financial institutions, and various associations. The purpose of the meeting was to scrutinize and validate an evidence-based roadmap and its implementation monitoring framework dedicated to addressing crucial national conditions for Women’s Entrepreneurship Development (WED) and formalization of women-owned businesses in Nigeria.

This collective roadmap stands as a testament to the commitment of stakeholders towards creating an environment where women entrepreneurs can flourish and significantly contribute to Nigeria's socio-economic development. It acknowledges the unique challenges women entrepreneurs face and offers a strategic blueprint to address them comprehensively. Centred around six key pillars of the WED strategy, the roadmap focuses on gender-sensitive legal and regulatory systems, policy leadership, access to financial services, business development support, market and technology access, and representation of women in policy dialogue.

Dr. Vanessa Phala
During the workshop, Dr. Vanessa Phala, Director of the ILO Country Office for Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, emphasized the importance of addressing gender-based barriers hindering women's access to resources and opportunities. She expressed optimism in the roadmap's potential to catalyse the thriving of women's entrepreneurship in Nigeria through its implementation under the coordination of SMEDAN.

Representatives from various entities, including government ministries, financial institutions, and international organizations, expressed their commitment to supporting women's entrepreneurship in Nigeria through their organizational commitments and ongoing collaborations. Each underscored the importance of empowering women entrepreneurs and addressing their challenges.

Mr. Wale Fasanya
In his keynote address, Mr. Wale Fasanya, the Director-General of SMEDAN, highlighted the substantial participation of women in entrepreneurship globally and emphasized the need for tailored support to overcome the challenges faced. He encouraged utilizing networking, mentorship, and association linkages to transform challenges into opportunities for sustained business growth.

Following the presentation of the roadmap and its implementation framework, stakeholders pledged their commitment to its implementation over the next three years. The validated statement was read and signed by participants, marking a significant commitment towards unleashing the potential of women’s entrepreneurship and fostering sustainable business growth and job creation in Nigeria.