Ogun State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Hon. Adijat Adeleye has advocated for more strong initiatives to prioritize financial inclusion, gender-responsive policies, and supportive networks that would aid the success of women-led businesses to thrive in Nigeria.

Adeleye disclosed this while speaking on the theme: Enabling Nano & Micro Women-led Businesses Thrive in Africa" at the 9th Policy Dialogue Series on Entrepreneurship, organised by the FATE Foundation in Lagos.

According to her, the proposed initiatives being a combined effort of government, non-governmental organizations, and public-spirited individuals would serve as catalyst for transformative forces, addressing unique challenges, and transforming lives while contributing significantly to national economic development.

She posited that "when women excel in business, they reinvest in education, healthcare, and society. This is a call to empower and honor these change-driving entrepreneurs. Let's champion gender equality and economic empowerment, laying the groundwork for an inclusive, prosperous future. Together, let's make this vision a reality, enriching not just women but our entire communities and nation.

Adeleye expressed that in African continent, women entrepreneurs in nano and micro enterprises remained crucial for financial growth, and the challenges to access limited financial access. She noted initiatives like "Nigeria For Women Project" and Ogun State's "Oko'wo Dapo" has empowered women in Ogun State with grants, training, and networks, saying the present administration has impacted over 100,000 women, breaking barriers and fostering economic resilience.

"The Ogun State-led "Oko'wo Dapo" program, valued at over one billion Naira, supports women and youth in SMEs with grants ranging from N320,000 to N400,000. Operated via Women Affinity Groups (WAGs), it builds social capital and financial inclusion. This strategic initiative removes barriers, enabling grassroots enterprises to flourish, transcending politics and administration. It empowers women entrepreneurs, fostering economic growth within Ogun State", she submitted.

The Commissioner expressed commitments that the Year 2024 fiscal year's Proposed budget outlines more ambitious plans, showcasing a forward-thinking commitment to women's empowerment across the twenty Local Government Areas, saying that the present administration's constant openness to partnerships with the Federal Government, corporate bodies, non-governmental organizations, and public-spirited individuals underscores a collaborative effort to amplify the benefits of women empowerment projects.

Earlier while presenting the research report of the foundation, the Director, FATE Institute, Amaka Nwaokolo said the Nano and Micro business contributes to 43% of the Nation's GDP, adding that challenges including multiple taxations, access to credits, growth, and operations, technological issues and socio-cultural biases are barriers that must be tackled to ensure genuine empowerment for women-owned business, thereby ensuring gender equality in the society. 

Nwokolo added there must be deliberate economic empowerment initiatives and policies from the Nation's regulatory agencies through deliberate affirmative actions to enable women entrepreneurs to operate seamlessly.

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