JUST IN: Foundation To Bridge $1.7tn Financing Gap For Women Entrepreneurs

Foundation To Bridge $1.7tn Financing Gap For Women Entrepreneurs

Foundation To Bridge $1.7tn Financing Gap For Entrepreneurs


Sterling One Foundation has called for strategic collaborations in bridging $1.7 trillion financing gap for women entrepreneurs.

The foundation stated this at the 10th annual Ring the Bell for Gender Equality/Closing Gong ceremony hosted at the Exchange Group.

In line with this year's theme, ‘Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress', stakeholders convened to address the multifaceted challenges hindering from realising their full potential while spotlighting existing opportunities for women to grow and thrive.

The speakers agreed on the urgent need to bridge the gender gap in by advocating for increased inclusion of women in C-Suite positions, fostering investment in women-led enterprises, bolstering capacity-building initiatives, and offering strategic support to trailblazers across various sectors.

CEO of Sterling One Foundation and a of the Exchange Group for the , Mrs Olapeju Ibekwe emphasised the importance of partnerships to accelerate progress for women, which is a pivotal element of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 17.

According to her, the Sterling One Foundation has launched the Social Impact Summit (ASIS), a global platform convening leaders from diverse sectors to devise innovative and sustainable solutions to Africa's developmental challenges.

“The Africa Social Impact Summit provides an avenue for strategic partnerships to accelerate investment in women and directly track progress in other areas of social impact interventions. We have a $1.7 trillion gap in financing for women entrepreneurs today. It is not a feat that one organisation can achieve. We need to leverage strategic collaborations to ensure notable progress and bring stakeholders together to partner on and scale projects and initiatives that deliver results,” she pointed out.

Divisional head of Support Services/General Counsel of Nigerian Exchange Limited, Dr Irene Robinson-Ayanwale stressed that gender equality is not merely a buzzword but an ethos driving exponential growth within the Nigerian Capital Market and the broader economy.

Chair of the UN Global Compact Network Nigeria Board, Oluwasoromidayo George added that, closing the gender gap is critical as it stands in the way of attaining SDG 5 (Gender Equality) by 2030, saying, “despite understanding the compelling business case for gender equality, progress on women's rights remains stagnant. We acknowledge the pivotal role of the private sector in driving gender equality forward.”

The United Nations (UN) estimated that the gender pay gap costs the global economy $160 trillion per year. Addressing the gender pay gap will remove barriers that place women at a disadvantage, unlocking significant opportunities for advancement across the SDGs.

The event featured other speakers, including director, Zone, Securities and Exchange Commission, Olubukanla Rufai; chairperson of NASCON Allied Industries Plc, Yemisi Ayeni; founder and creative director of Terra Kulture, Bolanle Austen-Peters; among others.

The 10th annual Ring the Bell for Gender Equality/Closing Gong ceremony catalysed meaningful dialogue and collaboration among stakeholders committed to investing in women to drive transformative progress in Nigeria and across Africa.


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