One hundred and one female entrepreneurs have made it to the final stage of the Y’ellopreneur initiative and will each receive equipment loans of up to N2 million at a fixed interest rate of 2.5% and 36-months repayment duration from the MTN Foundation. The loans, which will be disbursed by the Bank of Industry, are expected to help the women scale their businesses thus contributing to reduction in female unemployment.

SMEs in less wealthy economies are mostly faced with sociocultural barriers and infrastructural deficit. They also lack poor access to finances and continuous education, and government support. Nevertheless, a 2022 report by Mastercard, shows that women in less wealthy economies are making their mark as vital economic contributors with over 25% significant business ownership of all local businesses, despite prevailing socio-economic constraints. The Y’ellopreneur initiative was established to contribute to tackling these problems in Nigeria, through capacity building, advisory and business support services.

Speaking about the equipment loan, Executive Secretary, MTN Foundation, Odunayo Sanya stated that the equipment loan is to facilitate the expansion of more sustainable women-led businesses. “Women-led businesses are powerful sources of job creation and economic growth. According to a report by PwC Nigeria, women account for 41% of business ownership and 3.4% of female employment within micro-enterprises, but they continue to face challenges in accessing finance. Through the Y’ellopreneur initiative, MTN Foundation and Bank of Industry are helping female entrepreneurs in Nigeria. By working together, we can build a fairer, more prosperous future,” said Odunayo Sanya, Executive Secretary, MTN Foundation.

“This time, the MTN Foundation is concentrating on female entrepreneurs. Five hundred out of the nearly 42,000 applicants for the Y’ellopreneur programme were trained, and following careful assessment of their respective pitches, 101 women have qualified to receive the equipment grant and loan,” she added.

The Y’ellopreneur initiative in partnership with the Bank of Industry (BOI) and the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) is part of the MTN Foundation’s strategic efforts to support the government in attaining Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) 1,2, 5, 8 and 17 which seeks to eliminate poverty and hunger, achieve gender equality by empowering all women, and promote inclusive economic growth.