Full of ideas and ambition, Africa’s young entrepreneurs dream of a future in business, and with initiatives designed to help with funding, there has never been a better time to invest in the African Dream.
Entrepreneurship is the backbone of Africa, but while older generations tended to create for subsistence, the new crop of entrepreneurs seek to build businesses to generate wealth and influence around the world.
The business ecosystem is also shifting, with new investors, partners, and opportunities arising through intercontinental trade and new types of entrepreneurs being funded and supported.
Women and young adults have emerged as a critical component of the change in business on the continent. But to nurture talent and feed ambition, equipping this population with the skills they need to grow is essential – not just for the individuals, but for the future of Africa.
Going for Equality
With equality central to modern business, Access Bank is prioritizing female entrepreneurs, and hosts a yearly Womenpreneur Pitch-a-ton scheme.
The Bank provides financial grants of up to 5 million Naira with training designed to empower female entrepreneurs.
The three-month programme gives women the opportunity to develop and pitch business ideas and leave with a mini-MBA.
Bridging the gap between financing business growth and honing critical managerial skills, the scheme is aimed at creating well-rounded entrepreneurial skills through workshops, in the hope that participants go on to transform communities through subsequent initiatives.
But without funding, ideas can’t go anywhere, so female entrepreneurs will also have access to several loan schemes designed to generate working capital to fuel startups.
Africa is a world leader when it comes to female entrepreneurship and in view of contributing to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of ensuring women’s equality and empowerment, Access Bank’s Pitch-a-ton scheme has never been more important.
There is a huge opportunity to train young people to set up their own businesses, not only helping them to support themselves, but to eventually become employers themselves – alleviating the lack of formal employment options.
In view of creating entrepreneurs across the continent, Access Bank is on a drive to provide training for students.
The Bank has pioneered Project LEAD, an empowerment programme honing financial, leadership, and business skills to 90,000 students in Nigeria.
Another initiative, the Phoenix Project, aims to train 10,000 young Nigerians yearly in the creative industry over the next three years.
The entertainment industry is poised for exponential growth by 2023 with revenues projected to grow from $5.55 billion in 2019 to $10.8 billion in 2023.
And with a booming movie and music industry, Nigeria is leading in Africa’s creative sector – meaning training up the next generation of creatives is essential. Spread across various creative disciplines, Phoenix provides physical and online training, with emphasis on the creative value chain.
Another key initiative is Solar Up Nigeria, which launched the Solar for Schools Project. Acknowledging that IT skills are an integral part of modern learning, this service provides a reliable supply of renewable power - schools will never lose power while students are using devices to learn.
The rise of new African business
As women and youth continue to take a leading role in changing the business landscape in Africa, continued support and development will trigger a wave of economic and social change across the continent. Access Bank’s drive is creating an enabling environment that is tapping into the ambition and growth of millions.