The United Nations maintains that gender equality and women empowerment is necessary to achieve sustainable development all over the world. Women-owned businesses are essential to the growth of developing economies like Nigeria. However, only 1 in 3 businesses are owned by women globally, based on information from the World Bank Gender Data Portal.
Most female-led businesses are micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). In 2020, Crunchbase reported that funding that went to women-led startups fell to 2.3% however, the World Bank revealed that between 2014 and 2018, newly “registered firms are 17% more likely to have a female owner” in Nigeria. Access to financial services is one of the greatest challenges women face compared to their male counterparts in the populous country.
A Consultant with the World Bank, Daniel Halim stated that,
“In Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East & North Africa, less than 40% women have a financial account”
Women need financial literacy and an account to access the capital they can use to start, operate and expand their lives businesses. This is why a leading Fintech, aims to be the number one destination for financial services and resources for women all over the world.
As a credit service company, Shecluded has been able to provide loans to thousands of women from its community of 16000+ female entrepreneurs, delivering financial education, free resources, and many more opportunities.
Shecluded Founder & CEO, Ifeoma Uddoh began with dreams of opening women up to funding opportunities, access to capital, and business training to help them grow their businesses. First, she focused on stay-at-home moms, and later on low-income earners who wanted to go into business.
Ifeoma bootstrapped in the first year of business till 2020 when she was able to access funding of $100,000 to scale so Shecluded could reach more people who needed its services.
Since 2019, the company has defined its target market to accommodate more women and has been offering advisory, training, health insurance, and wealth management services to businesswomen.
After persistent encouragement from her mentor, Ifeoma applied for the Spring 2021 Milestone Maker cohort at the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Centre in San Francisco, USA, and got accepted into the program.
She recently graduated and earned a feature on the Nasdaq billboard in Times Square, New York.
Speaking to Benjamin Dada on the program, Ifeoma Uddoh said,
“It was a program filled with intense coaching and it allowed us to aggressively redefine our goals as a company. We had an audacious dream to reach and enable every woman across Nigeria and Africa to attain and enjoy financial freedom and this dream is slowly becoming a reality.”
“The company’s solution is to help women access productive resources and decent work, control their own time, lives and bodies; and increase voice, agency, and meaningful participation in economic decision-making at all levels from the household to national and international institutions. Armed with more validation for the work we already do, Shecluded is on a journey to do more now with access to more resources.”
From financial education to growth loans, and business support, Shecluded is on a mission to put more money in the hands of women especially in recent times, with the new challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Through consistency and grit, Shecluded plans to change the lives of a lot of women with the end goal of ensuring more female-led MSMEs grow to large organisations in the future. Users can visit www.shecluded.com for more information on the platform.
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