As part of its financial inclusion drive, Union Bank Plc has partnered with Leading Lady Africa to enhance the capacity of Nigerian women through an enterprise and leadership programme using Alpher platform.
The Alpher platform for women is a value proposition that targets Nigerian individual women as well as women in business.
It basically provides an enabling environment and support whether it is through products and services but more importantly the capacities and opportunities that they need to grow and thrive and also it will pave way for others that come after them.
Lola Cardoso, chief digital and innovation officer, Union Bank, said, “We think about an enterprise leadership programme and so we partnered with the Leading Lady Africa, and Union Bank is reiterating its commitments to women, to small scale businesses as well as paving a forefront for the Nigerian society,”
“The specifics around Alpher, we have taken some time to invest a valid proposition in the platform and one of the questions you might ask is why a bank? But in many ways we are also a trusted partner to Nigerians, so in many ways when we invest in programmes like this, it is not about being a bank, it is what else we can do to grow businesses and start-ups,” she said.
Francesca Uriri, founder Leading Lady Africa, said Enterprise and Leadership programme is an initiative of Leading Lady Africa.
She said it was important to partner with an institution that had the history of not just supporting women businesses but supporting enterprise.
“For the enterprise entrepreneurship programme, we opened it up and we received nearly 2000 entries from women and that again is a pointer to the fact that female entrepreneurs do need capacity building,” she stated.
“We are also interested in creating an ecosystem for the Nigerian woman. In that ecosystem you have all the support that you need to thrive.
From understanding what their problems are we were able to draw up a curriculum. A good number of them came to us with some specifics asking what does modelling and innovation mean to a fish farmer?,” Uriri said.
According to her, a lot of the conversations are always just focused on funding. “While funding is important, if you don’t have businesses that have structure, that can scale, if it attract funding it is just going to be like water in the basket and so for us, the idea behind the enterprise and leadership programme is to provide that structure for women businesses.”