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Access Bank Plc has awarded 100 women with the International Finance Corporation mini-MBA and financial grants worth N9.75 million to top five women in its Womenpreneur Pitch-a-ton Season 3 grand finale.

The hybrid ceremony, which took place at the Access Bank Towers, on Tuesday in Lagos, brought together women entrepreneurs from all over Africa.

The Group Managing Director of Access Bank, Dr. Herbert Wigwe, said that the programme was introduced to help women create a sustainable and successful enterprise, as well as prepare their business plans.

Wigwe said: “One of the problems people have in starting business is they don’t have a convincing business plan and they think they can just jump into it.

“Now what we’ll do to support you is that we will support you in setting up a business plan, we will support you in terms of understanding how to maintain accounting so that you will understand the difference between cash flow, sales and profits, among others.

“And sometimes that’s all somebody needs to make a big push; and for the most sophisticated women, we will take them across a more interesting journey around succession.

“Some of them seem not to know how to solve their problems, so we will take them and show them the diversity of options and help them to create basically the nature of business that they require.

“Already we have up to 37,000 applicants from female owned businesses from over 10 countries.

“The top candidates pitched their businesses to an independent jury consisting of industries across the continent.

“The top five will receive awards worth $22,000, an additional 10 winners have earned consolation prizes.”

Wigwe added that the bank partnered with SME.ng to create ablymarketplace, ecommerce platform to ensure all graduates would be listed there as vendors for one year.

According to him, it will be fully sponsored by the W-Initiative of Access Bank.

Speaking on the unique propositions of the W.Initative, Wigwe said the programme was designed to provide quality training as well as financial and business skills to female entrepreneurs in Africa through an IFC certified mini MBA.

Dr. Ajoritsedere Awosika, Chairman, Access Bank PLC, thanked God that the happenings in the world did not hinder the bank from celebrating women.

Awosika said: “The world is in a different place today.

“But that we have not allowed the happenings globally to stop us from being able to develop and celebrate enterpreneurship in womanhood is a great step forward for us in Access Bank.

“For us in Access Bank, women are indeed very special; women contribute a great deal to our going forward and to the expansion of the business in banking.

“So, we thank God and we salute all those that are making such efforts to develop and bring up more women climbing up the ladder and identifying talents.

“Over the years, we see that such talents become great entrepreneurs, not just in Nigeria but beyond.”

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that 100 graduates also received certificates of participation from IFC, a member of the World Bank Group.

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