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NEPC and ITC Empower 4,000 Women Entrepreneurs for Global Success

The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) have partnered to empower over 4,000 women entrepreneurs, propelling them towards global market success. This significant initiative focuses on enhancing business capacities and export readiness, marking a milestone in fostering women-led businesses in Nigeria.

Nonye Ayeni, Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer (ED/CEO) of NEPC, emphasized the council’s commitment to increasing women’s participation in non-oil export businesses. This aligns with the International Trade Centre’s efforts to provide capacity building and market access opportunities for women-led businesses in Nigeria.

Ayeni highlighted the success of the SheTrades Nigeria Hub, hosted by NEPC, which currently connects over 4,000 women-led businesses. These businesses have participated in webinars, market access programs, and in-person training programs designed to meet specific sectoral needs.

Leveraging the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)

The International Trade Centre is also collaborating with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to implement the Empowering Women and Boosting Livelihoods through Agricultural Trade (EWAT) program. This program aims to support women in agriculture and agro-processing value chains to take advantage of opportunities created by AfCFTA.

SheTrades Initiative: Removing Barriers for Women in Trade

Ayeni explained that the SheTrades initiative, launched by the ITC in 2015, aims to remove barriers to women’s participation in trade. This initiative works with governments and private sector organizations to build the business capacities of women and create a fairer, more sustainable global ecosystem.

NEPC and ITC Partnership: A History of Success

The NEPC and ITC partnership began in 2016 with the implementation of the SheTrades Initiative in Nigeria. This initiative aims to connect Nigerian women entrepreneurs to global markets. The workshops provide a platform for policy dialogue and equip women-led businesses to capitalize on the opportunities created by AfCFTA.

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Workshop Highlights:

  • Evaluating export readiness and competitiveness
  • Creating and executing strategic plans for accessing regional and international markets
  • Conducting market research and identifying export opportunities
  • Developing negotiation and communication skills for real business scenarios

The training is designed to prepare women entrepreneurs with the knowledge and skills needed to access new markets and build sustainable export businesses that compete globally.

Challenges Faced by Women Entrepreneurs:

Participants at the workshop highlighted some of the challenges they face, including:

  • Need for Processing Centers and Facilities: Producers require facilities for processing and packaging their produce, with government intervention and assistance in acquiring machines.
  • Policy Issues: Policy changes can impact businesses, and clear guidelines are needed.
  • Finance: Access to finance remains a challenge for many women entrepreneurs.
  • Access to Land and Raw Materials: Securing land and raw materials can be difficult for women entrepreneurs.

NEPC’s Commitment to Addressing Challenges

NEPC is committed to addressing these challenges and creating a more supportive environment for women-led businesses in Nigeria. The council is working with stakeholders to develop solutions and advocate for policies that support women’s economic empowerment.

A Bright Future for Women-led Businesses in Nigeria

With the support of NEPC, ITC, and other stakeholders, women-led businesses in Nigeria are poised for significant growth and success. These businesses have the potential to make a significant contribution to the Nigerian economy and create jobs for women and men across the country.

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