In economics, it is said that production is not complete unless the goods get to the final consumer. Women are, in most cases, the closest link of production to final consumers through their petty trading; and that comes with a lot of challenges. Cost of product expiration is on them likewise the accumulative effect of middle men. Hardly do they know how to manage these market dynamics for optimal sales and profit.
The Centre for Social Awareness, Advocacy and Ethics (CSAAE), is bent on eradicating poverty through boosting on the entrepreneurial skills of the people using her Career Building and Entrepreneurship Program(CBEP). Abreast of this pivotal role women play in the economy; she has a special program, under the umbrella of CBEP, dedicated to women called Young Imo Mompreneurs Initiative (YIMI). This was the initiative that gave birth to first Imo women business linkage held on March 7,2020 at Rockview Hotel, Owerri. The event featured:
- Talk on how to get Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) AGSMEIS 2020 Loan: The business linkage started with a talk on how to access CBN AGSMEIS (Agric, Small and Medium Enterprise Scheme) Loan by Ifeoma Oronsaye (Manager, Career Building and Entrepreneurship Program at CSAAE). The talk exposed the women to the loan opportunities available to them at CBN and how they can access it.
- Doing business in Imo state: This was a panel discussion on the challenges and prospects of doing business in Imo State. The Panelists included Mr. Tuoyo Blessing -Business Development Expert at PIND, as well as three (3) Mompreneurs from Agwa, Works Layout and Nekede rural communities. The Mompreneurs shared their experiences and challenges encountered by them and other women while doing business in Imo state. Amongst such issues raised were the problem of perishability of some agricultural products, little or no access to electricity, long distance travels to the north to buy goods at a cheaper price, etc. The anchor, Mr Tuoyo Blessing spoke on the importance of business management, marketing and promoting good relationship between large buyers and business women. He also emphasized the need for linking the rural women to access finance. It was an interesting discussion as many business women present asked questions relating to their businesses and their challenges. Contributions were also made by other special guests present.
- Business Exhibition, networking and sales of exhibited products: The Business exhibition and networking with large buyers was done in an orderly manner. 90% of the exhibition participants made sales from the patronage of individuals present at the event who were excited about the linkage and were willing to buy goods from the business women, as their own way of supporting and encouraging women on International Women’s Day Celebration. Some large buyers were present and showed interest in poultry and fish products as they interacted with the business women that exhibited these products. A total of 66 business women exhibited, and the products and services exhibited include but not limited to:
- Agricultural products: fresh tomatoes, pepper, plantain, garri, fufu, pap, palm oil, vegetable oil, onions, vegetables, snail; fruits like orange, pineapple, watermelon, coconut, cucumber, mangoes, etc.
- Poultry products: broilers and eggs
- Fish products: fresh fish, dry fish, stockfish, prawn, crayfish, etc.
- Catering service: Pepper soup, Agidi, confectionaries, etc.
- Errand and cleaning services
- Horticultural products: different kinds of flowers seedlings
- Hair products: extensions, wigs, weave-on, etc.
- Clothings: clothes, shoes, inner wears
- Household products: air freshener, liquid soaps, toilet washer, liquid antiseptic, etc.
Since it is true that health is wealth, we engaged the services of Dalzon Diagnostic Laboratory to conduct free medical tests for the rural women. The tests included free HIV screening, Hepatitis, Fasting blood sugar tests and Blood Pressure checks.
The first Imo business linkage witnessed many testimonies from business women whose products were readily bought that day and some have already started supplying their products to large buyers. We are sure that many business women will experience massive growth in their business as a result of the follow up CSAAE will do on the large buyers.
Mrs. I. Oronsaye