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NGO seeks gender equality in access to business funding, investment

An NGO, HEIR Women Hub, has called for gender equality in access to business funding and investment to address challenges faced by female entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
Anuli Aniebo, the Executive Director of HEIR Women Hub, made the call in Abuja.
Aniebo said a survey conducted by the NGO and was funded by the African Women Development Fund under the Economic Justice theme exposed disparities faced by Nigerian female entrepreneurs in accessing loans and investments.
“The survey’s findings provide compelling evidence for the need to reevaluate the approach of financial institutions towards investments in female-led enterprises.
“With feedback gathered from 10 financial institutions in Nigeria, we possess a robust foundation for initiating dialogue with stakeholders.
“We are committed to convening discussions based on our findings and holding participating institutions accountable to ensure improved outcomes for women and their SMEs.”
According to her, the survey findings showed that “only 4 percent of female CEOs receive funding compared to 95 percent of male CEOs.
“Social norms, cultural expectations, and biases contribute to limited access to investments for women.
“Women-owned businesses face challenges such as risk aversion, collateral requirements, and high interest rates.
“Despite lower default rates among female business owners, they still encounter barriers to accessing fair and equitable loan approval processes.”
Aniebo explained that, in response to the findings, the organisation would launch strategic initiatives to support female entrepreneurs.
She said such initiatives include policy advocacy, capacity building, partnerships, and technology integration to bridge the gap in accessing funds for female entrepreneurs.
“We envision a future where women-owned businesses thrive, empowered by equitable access to funding and support.
“Through collaborative efforts and targeted interventions, we aim to advance economic inclusion and empowerment for female entrepreneurs in Nigeria,” she said.
She, therefore, urged stakeholders, including the World Bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the African Development Bank, and the Ministry of Finance, to rally behind initiatives aimed at promoting gender equality in business funding and investment.
HEIR Women Hub is an NGO dedicated to driving impactful social change, particularly by supporting young women and girls to attain leadership positions and decision-making roles. (NAN)
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