Flourish Africa, a female empowerment Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) founded by Nigerian businesswoman and philanthropist, Apostle Folorunso Alakija has launched a N1 billion women entrepreneurship scheme to empower the gender for the next five years.

Disclosing this at a press conference in Lagos, Alakija announced Eloh Consulting Limited, Google, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as its training partners for the N1 billion business and life skills training scheme.

She said the programme was to support the entrepreneurial activities of female-owned businesses in Africa and helping them achieve their full potentials. Alakija explained that a minimum of 500 female micro-entrepreneurs would be trained yearly under the scheme and after the training, 100 audacious entrepreneurs from the pool will access grants of a maximum of N2 million according to their business needs and capacities from a yearly fund of N200 million.

She added that Eloh Consulting Limited would train the female entrepreneurs in 10 modules of management development over three months, while Google would provide free digital skills training and Google Business Profile verification for female entrepreneurs.

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Similarly, PWC would train the women on the tax regulations and requirements for doing business in Nigeria, so that their businesses can be tax compliant.

Partner, Eloh Consulting Limited, Lilian Uwaeme, said: “We have put together a group of seasoned facilitators with vast industry experience to facilitate this programme. We are also providing female entrepreneurs with a one-year business plan advisory support. This is to ensure that at the end of the programme, they would be equipped with knowledge and skills that will enable them to run sustainable and profitable businesses.”

Director, Tax Reporting & Strategy, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Kenneth Erikume, said: “We believe that this initiative will empower the beneficiaries to understand the need to properly register their businesses and intellectual property, understand their role as good corporate citizens and comply with their tax obligations.

Regional Head, Brand and Reputation Africa – Google, Mrs Mojolaoluwa Aderemi-Makinde, stated that supporting small businesses, particularly those run by women, to have access to the resources they need to expand, grow, and thrive is at the heart of Google’s work in Africa.

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She said despite high rates of female entrepreneurship in Africa, women-owned businesses have a 34 per cent lower profit margin than those run by men and are less likely to receive funding and investment.

“By providing free digital skills training and Google Business Profile verification, we can support more women entrepreneurs to boost their business exposure, while simultaneously teaching them how to scale their businesses using web tools.” Aderemi-Makinde said.