Access Bank expands women empowerment to more African countries
Access Bank Plc has announced the extension of the second edition of its Womenpreneur Pitch-a-ton programme to other African countries where it has significant presence.
According to the bank, the Womenpreneur Pitch-a-ton Africa 2020 Campaign is designed to provide female owned businesses across Africa an opportunity to access finance and world-class business trainings as well as mentoring opportunities.
The bank which has been at the forefront of women empowerment, pioneered women banking in Nigeria with the establishment of the Gender Empowerment Movement (GEM) in 2006 which later evolved into the ‘W’ Initiative, officially created in 2014.
The ‘W’ Academy, a programme under the ‘W’ initiative focuses on capacity building sessions, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) opportunities, networking programmes among others. This platform is anchored on addressing gaps in gender financing and technological skills among women while bridging business and managerial skills gap among thousands of female entrepreneurs through workshops and events.
Access Bank created the ‘W’ Power loan – a scheme designed to bridge the financing gaps for women in business and provides business support services and visibility for these businesses, .
Since the launch of the loan scheme in July 2018, over 60 loans valued at over N1 billion has been approved for financing expansion of operations, acquisition of fixed/capital assets, and working capital requirement,the bank disclosed.
Last week, Ayona Trimnell, Group Head, W Initiative, while speaking at the launch of the second edition of the Pitch-a-ton initiative said, “Access Bank has been a leading advocate for women’s economic empowerment in Nigeria and this is the key motivation for the ‘W’ Initiative which caters to the women economy particularly in the areas of capacity building and creating networking opportunities for women”.
She further stated that the Pitch-a-ton is an expansion of the Womenpreneur Business Workshop, under the bank’s women proposition, the W Initiative.
“We launched the Pitch-a-ton initiative last year in line with our value proposition as the number 1 bank of choice for women in Nigeria, and we got a tremendous amount of applications with innovative business ideas. This year we want to do more and we want to reach out to more female entrepreneurs not just in Nigeria but across Africa.
“As a responsible financial institution with huge presence in other African countries, we want to give the same opportunity to other female entrepreneurs in Ghana, Rwanda and Zambia as well as Sierra Leone, Gambia, and Congo to apply and participate in this year’s edition of the programme.
The Womenpreneur Pitch-a-ton Africa 2020 will provide up to N9 million grant and a unique capacity building programme aimed at empowering women entrepreneurs. The programme, the first women-in-business support initiative of its kind in the industry, is designed as a 3-month period incorporating pitching sessions and 8 weeks of mini-MBA training in collaboration with the International Financial Corporation (IFC).
Interested persons who meet the criteria from Nigeria and other African countries, are required to fill an online application form. The 500 candidates selected from the pool will then send in a sixty seconds video pitch which will be screened by a credible panel of business experts to select 50 finalists.
The 50 finalists will pitch their businesses as part of the graduation requirements, infusing knowledge from the mini-MBA and will stand an opportunity to win financial grants up to N5 million.
Access Bank is a major advocate for women in business through their packages like the W Power Loan, a discounted financing at 15% interest per annum for women to grow their businesses as well as other business support services.
The bank has made significant investments aimed at enhancing growth in the Small and Medium-size Enterprise (SME) sector.