According to a BBC report, Nigeria has the highest number of female entrepreneurs in the world, with 40 per cent of the Nigerian women embracing the entrepreneurial field.
For Amara Okoli-Tasie, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Mara Cruiz Organics, who has seen entrepreneurship as a necessity for her to succeed in life, the art of trading has become part of her existence in life.
The innovator, manufacturer and entrepreneur recounts how she inherited the entrepreneurial gene from her parents.
“I inherited entrepreneurial genes from my parents. I got first-hand training and discipline on how to do business from my dad and he taught me the importance of core values like integrity, hard work, honesty and excellence in business”.
Unlike Okoli-Tasie, Titilola Aisha Damilola, the CEO of Tad farms got inspired to venture into the agricultural entrepreneurship at the Nigerian Law School Abuja, having studied Law at the University of Bedfordshire, Luton, England.
She said she had always been learning agriculture on her own, even while studying Law before she eventually switched to farming.
“I read so much about farming, from cassava farming to maize farming to pig farming to poultry etc, that I started feeling like a farmer already. It really gingered my interest in farming,”
For Nigerian female entrepreneurs, it is not only about passion but the quest to provide solution and make the world a better place for all is what has continued to be their source of motivation.
Yahaya Munirat, the CEO of MNBP Essentials said her business was borne out of her passion to be a solution provider to the society through her acquired skills.
“The need to be a solution provider to the society through my skill and craft is a lead factor, that I already see it is a duty on my part to bring our cultural and natural heritage to the fore and that makes it an easy boost for me to be an entrepreneur.
On her own part, Iniobong Udoh, the founder of Tech Skills Hack, noted that the need to equip Nigerians with the basic technological skills that would enable them to be employable inspired her to come up with her platform.
“There are jobs in Nigeria, but so many Nigerians are still unemployed because they don’t have the required skills that employers are searching for in their prospective employees and so many employers are outsourcing their jobs to foreigners with in-demand skills.
“So, as one who has knowledge of this and one who was unemployed because I didn’t have the right digital skill(s) that employers were searching for until I got myself equipped with in-demand digital skills, my motivation for launching Tech Skills Hack was to help Nigerians gain employability just like I did through in-demand digital skills acquisition.”
Damilola on her own noted that her business, especially the livestock farming was motivated due to her desire to ensure that the teeming Nigerians consume healthy meat that will nourish their health.
“At Tad Farms, we are committed to healthy eating and living of our customers. We are trying to promote white meat and also healthy red meat. So, we try to give our customers as many options as possible and most importantly, we want their meat to be delivered fresh.
“We do not only sell; we also educate our customers on the nutritional and health benefit of all our meat products. We also take them through all the processes their meats go through before reaching their table which means that all our meat products can be traced. So, basically, we are an advocate of people knowing the origin of what they consume.”
How we do it better than men
According to a World-Bank report, Africa is the only region in the world where more women than men choose to become entrepreneurs. Similarly, a report published by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, stated that Africa also leads the world in the number of women starting businesses.
Against this backdrop, the Nigerian female entrepreneurs said even though they are already taking up the challenge of getting themselves involved in some entrepreneurial jobs that people usually attribute to the male gender, but the aim is not to compete with the men but to do it better than them.
Damilola said as an entrepreneur in the agricultural industry, she doesn’t see herself as being inferior to the male counterpart but with her efforts, she believes she can do it better than them.
“Personally, I don’t feel any pressure whatsoever. I don’t even allow it get to me because I already know as a young lady I have to put in extra work and be consistent in achieving before I can be respected and recognised alongside my male counterparts in the industry.”
On her on part, Udoh said as an entrepreneur in the technology industry that is obviously dominated by the male counterpart, her collaborative techniques has made her stand out, noting that she doesn’t compete with men but instead work together with them to achieve greatness in her doings.
“Collaborating with the male entrepreneurs has really helped in handling the pressure that comes with being a female in a male dominated environment, you can’t even work in isolation and expect great impact.”
Not without challenges
Even though Nigeria’s entrepreneurial world is obviously dominated by the females but that doesn’t mean they don’t have the challenges they also face as female entrepreneurs.
Munirat said it was a herculean task for her to get people to trust her product as someone whose brand deals on the production and sale of natural beauty products.
“Getting people to trust natural products over their usual skincare products was a herculean task when I started”
In her own words, Aisha, who complained about the deplorable state of the roads to her farm noted that it wasn’t easy plying the road that has been abandoned by the government.
“The roads to the farm are in terrible shape. A lot of times we have had to fix the roads ourselves because it was a disaster”.
Udoh said the high cost of internet and poor internet connection serve as a cankerworm to her job as an entrepreneur in the technology industry.
“I run various online training platforms, so accessing our training contents is always a challenge for some of our trainers who can’t afford internet access and some of our clients always find it hard to access our online training because of poor internet too.”