An impact investment platform, SME.NG has unveiled Nigeria’s first all-female e-market platform, ‘Ebi’ Marketplace, to democratise access to finance and e-commerce for women entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
At the unveiling of the platform recently, Managing Partner, SME.NG, Thelma Ekiyo, said the platform was a direct response to the impact of COVID-19 on women-owned businesses in Nigeria, to ensure they remained sustainable and resilient to economic shocks.
She said the e-market platform, which would serve as financial inclusion, access to finance and access to markets platform, would also create better economic opportunities for women-owned businesses.
She said SME.NG’s investment in the Ebi Marketplace was to support the long-term resilience of women entrepreneurs.
The platform’s approach to SME financing, Ekiyo said, was through a “blended financing” model, which would leverage private capital, public sector investments and philanthropic giving.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, who commended the initiative, pledged the Federal Government’s commitment to increasing opportunities and financial support for women.
She said the ministry was already working with some stakeholders to stimulate packages for women entrepreneurs.
According to her, the platform would teach women how to operate and thrive in the e-commerce space.
Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Lagos State, Bolaji Dada, said the state government would not renege on its commitment to ensuring that women are encouraged to reach their full potential.
While affirming the ministry’s support, she said the initiative would go a long way to equip women in doing business effectively in the 21st century.
Deputy Director, Development Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Osa Amadasun, spoke on some of the initiatives by the apex bank to aid business access to finance and how the funds could be easily accessed.
Noting that young entrepreneurs and the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) were mostly constrained, he said the initiative would create employment and reduce restiveness among youths.