Nigerian women entrepreneurs of various sectors of the economy have received Access Bank plc’s empowerment to the tune of over N11 billion loan advances within one year of introduction of its “W” initiative.
A breakdown of the disbursement shows that N9 billion was given out to women-owned businesses, while N2 billion was disbursed to individuals.
The bank, during the year under review, recorded 40 percent growth portfolio with half a million women banking with it.
“July this year, we celebrated one year of “W” initiative, and it has done quite well. We just started and we have gotten attention of this sector,” Victor Etuokwu, executive director, personal banking, Access Bank, said in Lagos.nk said it would in December, under its W- initiative, celebrate women who had defiled all odds to achieve success. In this regard, it has created four awards category for women whose contributions to the $510 billion Nigerian economy are exceptional.
The first category is women entrepreneurship of the year award. This is an award for the woman entrepreneur who has a well-defined running business. The second category is young professional of the year award. This award is for women between 25 and 35 years, who stand out in their profession. The third and forth category are seasoned professional of the year award and Amazon of the year award.
While the seasoned award will go to a woman who has seen it all and who has done great things, a special woman who has been able to combine family and business effectively will clinch the Amazon award.
The award, according to the bank’s executive director, is part of women empowerment and inclusive programmes of the bank. Presently, the bank is requesting for nominations of women that merit the criteria for any of the award categories.
‘W’ Initiative of the bank offers privileges to women and their families to a variety of products, including access to a comprehensive range of loan products and credit facilities; access to the ‘W’ community with helpful advice on family and financial matters; home and family articles and details of special offers, and access to a wide range of discounts, special offers and freebies on health, beauty and fitness.
Other incentives under the initiative include Maternal Health Support Scheme (MHSS), which offers financial assistance for women who face difficulty with completing their family and mentoring programme for women entrepreneurs.
The bank has also trained many women in various skills and has created an online community with about 1.5 million women participating, which offers women an opportunity to share ideas.
Etuokwu, who noted that the bank had about 1.5 million women customers out of a total of 7 million customers, further said that during the award, the bank would also launch a book about 100 women who had helped to shape the Nigerian economy.
Herbert Wigwe, managing director of the bank, who is the champion of his bank’s W-Initiative, has always believed that the role of women in Africa is grossly under represented, believing that once the woman is educated, the whole family is educated; and what’s true for the family is true for the community and the whole country.