How FirstBank sponsored ELOY Foundation Scheme Aided Our Entrepreneurial Ambitions – Beneficiaries
A group of female entrepreneurs who just graduated from the ELOY Sustainable Empowerment Programme, a nationwide business mentorship scheme in Nigeria have recounted how the initiative significantly boosted their entrepreneurial capacity.
The programme which was organised by ELOY Foundation for 50 women was funded by First Bank of Nigeria Limited as part of its women entrepreneurship and empowerment interventions aimed at engendering sustainability for female-owned SMEs.
The ELOY Foundation Business initiatives focus on empowering and challenging thousands of women to be more and do more by providing access to resources, business skills, and tools for them to be able to grow, transform and sustain their businesses, which will, in turn, benefit their families and the community at large.
Elated beneficiaries who couldn’t hold back emotions as they showered encomiums on ELOY Foundation and FirstBank, said the 3-month business mentorship initiative unlike others offered a hand-holding system that guides participants to navigate daunting challenges of start-ups in Africa and also provides them with practical steps, deep mastery, methodologies, tools, experienced mentors and other necessary skills required to manage and scale their various small and medium level businesses more efficiently.
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Speaking at the ELOY Foundation Sustainable Empowerment Program End of Cycle ceremony at Lekki, Lagos on November 26, one of the beneficiaries, Ibinabo Moses, a natural baby cereals maker, said the scheme was so impactful to her business, adding “it has helped her put structures in place, attract more visibility, and achieve 80% of set goals, due to personalised mentorship model.” She also expressed deep gratitude to the organisers, sponsors and mentors.
For Aisha Sulaiman, an agro-allied company owner who heard about the programme through a similar scheme, she has gained a key mindset shift and clarity about her business through the initiative while her high point was the quality of mentor who aided her in achieving all set goals in 3 months.
“Thank you ELOY and FirstBank for changing my life and business; I loved the well-packed webinars, mentoring sessions, words of affirmation and networking sessions, she said with a big smile.”
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According to Tewa Onasanya, Founder of ELOY Foundation, it’s important to offer sustainable empowerment for SME business owners through the provision of guidance towards concrete business goals and access to practical resources which can help them thrive as SMEs remain the backbone of every nation and economy.
She added that the initiative touched all the geo political zones of Nigeria, with no location left out as asides from Lagos participants, many others flew in from Benin, Bayelsa, Kano, Ibadan, Port Harcourt and Abuja to attend the graduation ceremony.
One of the key highlights was the award of N250, 000 grants to 10 graduands by FirstBank, and lucky winners included Ibinabo Moses – Founder, Daily Tummies, Cynthia – House of Clingy, Gladys Ojoma Ucheju Ajata – House of Glam, Chidinma Ikeh – Pearls High-Quality Bread Bakery and Aisha Sulaiman – Royal Pearls Resources Ltd. Others were Adaora Akojuru – Berra Tomatoes, Beatrice Oriaku – Urban Duchess Food, Mercy Emmanuel-Worgu – Utmost Care and Therapy Services, Chioma Ukpabi – Shop Khadsole and Great Reuben of David Brooks Montessori School.
Revealing plans for 2023, Onasanya said 1000 women will be empowered at the ELOY Business shower to be sponsored by FirstBank while another 50 will join the ELOY Foundation Sustainable Empowerment Program. All will then proceed to the ELOY Foundation Network for Entrepreneurs and Business Owners.
Also speaking at the ceremony, FirstBank’s Group Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications, Folake Ani-Mumuney said the entrepreneurs exhibited remarkable growth compared to when they started and urged them to stay ahead of trends in business for survival.
“I could also rewind today nostalgically to see where you were three, four months ago. And see you guys here today; I’m very happy, there is no better investment than in human capital. I am certain this is the seed we have sown today and the seed will continue to grow. You must nurture it by remaining updated with the latest trends in what you do.
“I cannot fault the confidence that this program has built into you as I look back, and I could remember people struggling to raise their hands to speak but now very confident, bold and courageous individuals ready to take the world by storm.”
“For those who didn’t get grants today, you will have more opportunities at the First Gem anniversary. There are opportunities for access to grants and leveraging our SME connect for various technical services and benefits. The least we gave out in the last two editions was N500, 000 for each of those that pitched. You will also be able to showcase your products and services. Remember, having a business idea is just the starting point. But with faith, hard work, passion and dedication, you can’t go wrong. We are happy to continue this partnership beyond this year with the Eloy foundation. They are doing a very good job.”