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Friday, December 2, 2022

Empowering women through entrepreneurship training

By Abimbola Akindunbi

Kofi Annan, a former Secretary- General of the United Nations, in one of his statements said, “The  empowerment of women is the most effective tool for development.”

Also, Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “As women achieve power, the barriers will fall. As society sees what women can do, as women see what women can do, there will be more women out there doing things, and we’ll all be better off for it.”

Female empowerment is an important thing which is essential to create powerful women because when  it comes to deciding about their lives, women are self-sufficient and have their own voice.

It is on this premise that the office of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Gender and  Ondo State Entrepreneur Agency, in partnership with Strategic Solutions, United States of America, organized  a Women’s Entrepreneurship Seminar, so as to  equip women with tools & strategies to train their mind for businesses.

The objectives of the training include; To push women to Re-imagine their vision and think beyond their current circumstances; Identify and break mental barriers currently holding women from optimizing their business and Develop women’s level of systems thinking for economic empowerment, to enable them become relevant, politically, socially and economically  in the society.

Participants at the training, with the theme: ‘I Am Change,’ were drawn from various women organizations across  the 18 local government areas of  Ondo State.

To set the ball rolling, one of the facilitators, Nancy Taye Aragbaiye, an American -based leadership expert and entrepreneur from Strategic Solutions , USA, encouraged the women to prepare their minds  for the new move that will transform their lives for better.

Aragbaiye, an Owo indigene, said she had a revelation about two years ago, in which the Holy Spirit revealed to her that God is bringing change to Africa, and the change is starting from Nigeria, while Ondo is the beginning of the change.

She said, “Change comes from the heart. And we must work together to bring about the change. Together, we’ll deliver the change in Ondo State, Nigeria and Africa

“Entrepreneurship as much as it is, is both  technical skill and  spiritual skills. Hence we must renew our minds. We must have a clear vision. Your vision is not limited by what your eyes can see, but what you can imagine.

“A lot of us are leaning on someone else to give us something. But God has given us something to become who people can lean on.. We are the answers to many questions of the world.”

During the technical trainings, Tonya Baynes,  an American-based Transformational Coach also  from Strategic Solutions, USA, who spoke on, ‘Creating A New Paradigm,’ said the quickest way to make change is through action.

According to her, “We need more women entrepreneurs in Ondo State, Nigeria  and the world. to make that desired CHANGE. Entrepreneurs are the best problem solvers in the world.

“Women don’t dream  enough because we are concerned about  others . And when we don’t dream big, we get stucked.”

In a practical session, Baynes worked the women through the three processes of  dream design, paradigm shift and accountability based on their Spirituality, Economic status, Family, and Self  Care.

Speaking earlier, the Special Adviser to Governor on Gender, Mrs. Olamide Falana, stated that to empower women, their minds must first be empowered, adding that there is the need to prove to the Policy makers in Nigeria that women have all it takes to show their potential in all spheres of human endeavour or sectors of the economy.

Women, she noted, need new set of skills to exhibit their potential in order to fill the space needed to be filled by women in the society and that could be achieved by training them to learn how to effectively be the change and also lead the change.

She said, ”this seminar is the first in a series in a number of series to come. More seminars would come that we give our women more linkages with other women across the world.”

The special guest, Princess Oladunni Odu, Secretary to the Ondo State Government , advised women to be more determined and focused, in order to achieve the change they have  been clamouring for.

She said,”As women, we want to change from everything to better things. Women are beautiful in and out. Why can’t we be agents of change?  Change is a determination. I  dislike distractions, but love women who are focused. In life. You must be determined and shun any form of distractions.

“We have the ability because we are mothers of Presidents, Governors, ministers and what have you. We just need to work harder.”

Odu stressed that women should renew their mindset on agitations for equality with men, advising that they should be respectful and humble, if they want to go far in life.

She said,” I don’t plead or prove superiority with men. We, as women should just complement men and massage their ego. And if you want to complement men, you must be serious. You must be hardworking to ensure the change.

“As women, we have a lot of intuitions. Just ensure you do things right from the home. Change begins from home. We need peace at home to make that change we’ve been clamouring for. Ensure you respect your husband and do things right from the home. Be humble.”

The  SSG, who advised women not to stand as an image of impossibilities, stated that the parameters that worked for her,include, hardwork, honesty and loyalty, imploring them to serve as a symbol of honesty, objectivity, diligence and hardwork.

She encouraged women not to allow the huge domestic responsibilities before them, deter them from providing energetic support and commitment to the society which they belong as well as contributing meaningful to the socio- economic and political development of the nation and Ondo State in particular.

Princess Odu lauded the  State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, for his unflinching support for women in the state, particularly with the appointment of eight women in the state cabinet, giving the women  26% participation..

Her words,” To a larger extent, Mr Governor is trying to implement the provisions of the 1995 Beijing Conference which among other things canvassed for advancement of women equality with men in law and in practice,” she added.

She equally appreciated the wife of the Governor, Arabibrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, for leaving no stone unturned in ensuring women benefit from the gains of good governance.

Her words, “I have worked with five First Ladies, but Her Excellency, Arabinrin  Betty Akeredolu is different. She is indeed, a mother. She  is a rare blessing to women in Ondo State.

“Her programmes are impactful and developmental. BEMORE  has trained 4,000 girls and turned them to Army of Technology. She has also continued to empower women with skill acquisitions through  her FOWOSO programmes and  SOLAYO programme specially designed for expectant mothers.”

Nancy Taye Aragbaiye, who spoke on ”Re-imagine your Business,’ encouraged  the women to determine to be  great  entrepreneurs and  charged them to begin to think like innovators.

Mr Ogun Edo, who represented Dr. Sunny Smart Francis, Special Adviser to Governor on (Entrepreneur), took the participants through ‘Ondea: Scaling up Entrepreneurship and investment in Ondo State.

Participants at the training appreciated the facilitators and the Ondo State Government for organizing the training which they said has equipped them for better performances economically, socially and etc.

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