No fewer than 30 women chief executives are undergoing a six-day Entrepreneurship Training Workshop sponsored by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The training, based on a course content developed by the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD), is being conducted by international master trainers certified by the United Nations agency.
Speaking on Day 1 of the Workshop, the Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, Simbi Kesiye Wabote, said that women entrepreneurs were disproportionately few in the oil and gas industry and that the entrepreneurship development programme would equip women with critical skills to participate effectively in that sector and in other endeavours.
Represented by the Manager, Capacity Building, Angela Okoro, the NCDMB boss said the training would place women entrepreneurs in a better position to benefit from the Nigerian Content Intervention Fund (NCIF), established by the NCDMB in collaboration with the Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM).
According to him, “One of the reasons for getting this programme done is to ensure that women that participate in oil and gas business can have access to the [gender-based] Fund,” explaining that the strategy is, “Teach them entrepreneurship; let them be entrepreneurs, so they’ll be able to apply.”
A pool of funds totalling US$40 million, generated by the NCDMB and NEXIM to the tune of US$20 million each, is available to women in oil and gas under the NCI Fund.
Wabote said that it is customary for the NCDMB to carry out entrepreneurship training alongside its other youth training programmes. He said that “one of the things we always do with our Human Capacity Development (HCD) programmes is to train the participants on entrepreneurship, to ensure that if they don’t get any form of employment, they can do business on their own.
“In 2022, we trained 150 persons in different skillsets, and about 50 of them are now entrepreneurs in different fields. Some of them are watch repairers, some of them are dressmakers, caterers, phone repairers. We have someone in Yenagoa, who currently has over 20 employees”.
The workshop tagged “Entrepreneurship Development Training for Women Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs” is designed to teach how to “Identify your entrepreneurial potential; develop your personal entrepreneurial competencies, and identify new business opportunities.”
In their introductory lessons on Day 1, two facilitators, namely, Lemmy Omololu Omoyinmi, a Director of Empretec, an UNCTAD-certified training organisation, and his colleague, Osei Kwaku Agyekum, highlighted pitfalls that participants have to guard against.
Omoninmi said an entrepreneur has to evaluate his motivation; he should ask himself: Why am I in business? According to him, the primary purpose of business is to serve human and societal needs. Profit, he explained, is “a function of the quality of what you are offering to the market.”
He said, “The operational objective ought not to be profit,” and that entrepreneurs “driven and intoxicated by the lust for a profit act contrary to the principles of economics,” and that their activities are injurious to the collective good.
Agyekum, in his own presentation, explained that the training programme is designed “to inculcate behaviours and competencies in participants,” and that “mindset change” is a critical factor in business success.
According to the NCDMB, the Workshop continues in Port Harcourt at the Gardenia Resorts in Elelenwo.