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ExxonMobil Foundation supports Road to Growth women empowerment program

With support from the ExxonMobil Foundation, the Cherie Blair Foundation has launched a new initiative to empower women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses in Nigeria; The Road to Women’s Business Growth project aims to catalyze women owners of small businesses in Nigeria by building their management and financial literacy skills.

The initiative was celebrated at a special event to mark International Women’s Day at the Enterprise Development Centre of Pan-Atlantic University in Lagos.

In Nigeria, there is a persistent gender gap in financial inclusion, with only 34 percent of women having access to a bank account versus 54 percent of men. The Road to Women’s Business Growth initiative aims to address this gap by building the business management and financial literacy skills of women entrepreneurs, empowering them with the knowledge and tools they need to grow profitable and sustainable businesses.

Under the program, 500 women small business owners have already received training in business management and financial literacy across three states. The custom-built curriculum, which combines in-class instruction and online learning, is specifically designed to meet the needs of women owners of small businesses in Nigeria. Over the next six months, the women entrepreneurs will continue to receive support to build their businesses, with 100 of them receiving more intensive business support, including workshops, mentoring, financial services and investments.

“Research shows that expanding economic opportunities for women is integral to global development and broader economic progress,” said Nolan O’Neal, Lead Country Manager of ExxonMobil affiliates in Nigeria. “Today less than 35 percent of women in Nigeria have access to a bank account and many lack the capital needed to growth their business. This initiative takes an important step toward increasing financial literacy and access for women business owners.”

Government officials, community leaders and women entrepreneurs attended the commemorative event. Approximately 250 women business owners participating in the program were also present, and celebrated completing the first phase of training in an afternoon graduation ceremony with their families.