Access Bank has called on women entrepreneurs around the world to apply for its fourth Womenpreneur Pitch-a-Ton Africa season.
Ms. Abiodun Olubitan, Group Head, W Initiative, Access Bank Group, made the call during a media roundtable for the unveiling of Access Bank W Initiative: Pitch-a-ton Season 4.
The competition is open to Nigerian business owners between the ages of 18 and 55, whose businesses are legal and registered in Nigeria.
The Womenpreneur Pitch-a-ton Africa program is designed to provide women-owned businesses across Africa with an opportunity to access financing, world-class business training and mentorship opportunities.
Olubitan said the initiative was introduced as part of the bank’s mandate to empower women entrepreneurs with financial and business skills.
Speaking on the theme: “Empowering Women for Global Impact”, Olubitan Saud, the initiative was designed to create an enabling environment for women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.
“So we have just opened the applications and for this year we are going to have 27 winners.
“The top seven will win financial grants of up to five million naira and the remaining 20 will be consolation prizes which will include free website development, free advertisements as well as for their business.
“It’s just to make sure it’s not a winner take all. Everyone wins. “So this year’s competition is going to be different. We started in 2019 and we had it every year until this year,’ she said.
Olubitan said the bank expects 40,000 applications against 30,000 received last year, noting that four thousand applications since its opening.
She explained that those who applied and were not lucky enough to be selected from the top 100, would be harvested from the W community.
According to her, they will have free access to several pieces of information as well as to the toolbox therein, for training.
She said season four would allow Nigeria to fend for itself while other African countries would also coordinate programs in their own markets.
Olubitan said they would localize the content, make it accessible to women entrepreneurs in their own markets, and also have the ability to add additional rewards.
She said cash prizes, consolation prizes, including non-financial prizes such as insurance packages, three virtual business loans, investor matchmaking opportunities and other opportunities will abound in the contest. This year.
She said the season four competition will create a global impact as it will produce 400 mini MBA winners, up from 200 winners over the past three years.
Olubitan said the mini MBA was an intensive training program developed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to train women in the basics of business.
She said, “So look at this exponential growth that we’re going to have this year just because we’re opening it up for countries to trigger themselves.
“And in addition, we are going to have 40 other winners in terms of cash prizes and non-cash prizes.”
She said the competition produced 200 winners across Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones.
Olubitan added that 10 other African countries have produced 13 winners and another 10 consolation prizes across Africa.
Speaking about the impact, she said it exposed the women to international markets and allowed them to exhibit their products in many countries.
She also said that through the competition, the bank was able to directly and significantly contribute to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country.
“Because when you empower women, they increase their business capacity, they are able to replicate what they do.
“So it’s the impacts that you see that really propelled us, other than the fact that it’s profitable,” she said.
Olubitan revealed that the bank has awarded grants worth $55,000 to winners since the initiative began.
She said interested entrepreneurs who meet the criteria should follow @W Community or Instagram, Twitter and Facebook connect to www.womenpreneur.ng to apply. The application which opened on July 13 ends on August 19, 2022.