The NECA Network of Entrepreneurial Women (NNEW) has called on the Federal Government and stakeholders in the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) space to provide more support in the areas of finance and mentorship to women businesses in the country.
NNEW made this call during a press briefing in Lagos to highlight programmes for its upcoming annual conference scheduled for October 11-12, 2018.
“We need more support from the Federal Government and other stakeholders in the area of access to finance and mentorship to help us upscale our businesses,”  the NNEW President, Modupe  Oyekunle, said.
She added: “Access to finance is very critical to any business. The government is doing something now, but much more still needs to be done. Women need to be able to access loans easily at single-digit interest rate.”
She identified mentorship as a major challenge facing women-led businesses, saying that it is difficult for women to mentor each other in business.
She noted that NNEW is positioning itself to bridge the gap by changing the mind-set of women to embrace each other especially in the area of business.
Speaking on the upcoming conference ‘United Women Collaborating for Growth’, Oyekunle said the event will provide the platform for women entrepreneurs to learn from  entrepreneurial leaders and influencers, while also having the opportunity to network and connect with each other.
Olakitan Wellington, chairperson, NNEW 2018 summit planning committee, said the conference will provide the platform for women entrepreneurs to share their challenges and success stories with each other to promote collaboration and learning for scale up of businesses.
“To focus on agriculture, experts will be on ground to help us identify areas of opportunities in the sector and help existing businesses upscale,” Wellington said.
Wellington stated that MSMEs in attendance will benefit from the line-up of experienced entrepreneurs and industry experts who would be speaking at the conference.
Similarly, she said that participants at the conference stand a chance of winning an all- paid building capacity trip to Turin, Italy, headquarters of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
“There will be a raffle draw to select a female entrepreneur for an all-expense paid trip to Italy, courtesy of our partner – ILO,” she said.
Confirmed speakers at the conference are Adenike Ogunlesi, CEO, Ruff ‘n’ Rumble, Aisha Abubakar, minister for state for Industry, Trade and Investment, Timothy Olawale, Director General designate, NECA, among others.
Institutions relevant to MSMEs in issues of Tax, Finance, Digital Marketing, Strategy, Communication, Law and Human Resources are also expected at the conference to assist entrepreneurs.