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Support For Female Entrepreneurs…

GTBank partnered with She Leads Africa (SLA) to support and invest in promising African female entrepreneurs.

After sifting through 400 applications from 30 African countries, SLA selected six finalists who all gathered at the 2015 entrepreneur showcase in Oriental Hotel Lagos to pitch their businesses to a panel of judges and an audience of potential investors and customers.

The annual entrepreneur showcase which is the second of its kind since SLA was founded last year had the Managing Director, Guaranty Trust Bank, Segun Agbaje, Founder Ebony Life Tv, Mo Abudu, CEO IHS Towers, Issam Darwish, County Manager, International Finance Corporation, Eme Essien, Former Minister of Communication Technology, Omobola Johnson, Managing Director, Yinka Folawiyo Group, Tunde Folawiyo and MD Sub Saharan Africa, The Carlyle Group, Genevieve Sangudi as judges.

The six finalists who have spent the past six weeks working with mentors and advisors from the Lagos Angel Network to perfect their pitch and business plan presentation were, Louisa Kinoshi of BeautyRevNG, Ngozi Opara of Heat Free Hair, Imoteda Aladekomo of Heels in the Kitchen, Brenda Katwesigye of Insta Health, Kambili Ofili-Okonkwo of Kamokini and Kasope Ladipo- Ajayi of Omoalata Foods.
After the pitching session by the finalists and deliberation by the panel of judges, Kasope Ladipo- Ajayi, Founder of Omoalata Foods was announced as the winner of $10,000 as well as provision of marketing consulting and SME advisory support through MarketHub courtesy of GTBank.

Pitching her Business, Kasope said “OmoAlata Food services desires to be Nigeria’s pioneer food packaging company, providing easy to use pepper mix to the general public with operations in key markets across the country. An estimated 75 percent of Nigerians between the ages of 12-45 years old eat at least one meal prepared based on blended pepper mix daily. The process of making the mix is cumbersome and the absence of trusted, ready to cook off the shelf pepper mix products shows an untapped market opportunity.”

Kasope expressed joy at being picked as the winner, saying that she could not wait to explore the new opportunities being given to her through this platform to grow her Nigerian food service and packaging company which is focused on the production of hygienically processed and packaged local Nigerian soups, spices and peppers.

“I am very excited that all my hard work is paying off. This is a vision that was brought to life through hard work and perseverance and I am very grateful for the opportunity given to me to grow my business. I would implore all young women trying to build big businesses to never give up on their dreams.  Prior to this, my business has been fully funded by myself. $10,000 will really go a long way in helping OmoAlata grow”, she said.

The second place price of $5,000 on behalf of First Securities Discount House (FSDH) went to Kambili Ofili Okonkwo, Founder/ CEO of Kamokini, an African swimwear and accessories brand dedicated to flattering African body types and the third place price of $1,000 went to Ngozi Okpara of Heat Free Hair, the first manufacturer of virgin hair exclusively created to blend with African American textured, kinky, and curly hair.

She Leads Africa was launched in May last year as a social enterprise initiative to provide the most talented female entrepreneurs across the continent with access to the knowledge, networks and financing needed to build and scale strong businesses.

Yasmin Belo-Osagie, a management consultant focusing primarily on developing growth strategies for local and international corporate entities, and Afua Osei, also a management consultant, advising large scale public and private sector organisations on strategy and operations are the co-founders of SLA which was founded to move female entrepreneurs from small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to pan-African industry leaders.

Speaking at the event, Osei said “We’re trying to provide practical training and connect female entrepreneurs to mentors and advisers and investors that can help them get to the next level.”

 

Source: Business Day Nigeria

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