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Access Bank Flags-Off Activities For Pitch-a-Ton Africa Season Four

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To empower female entrepreneurs with financial and business skills, one of Nigeria’s leading financial institutions, Access Bank Plc has rolled out plans for pitch-a-ton Africa season four, a special project for women entrepreneurs . 

Details on the programme were presented by the Group Head, W Initiative, Access Bank Group, Mrs. Abiodun Olubitan, at a media roundtable for Access Bank W Initiative: Pitch-a-ton season 4 in Lagos over the weekend.  The theme of this year’s programme is “Empowering Women for Global Impact”.

According to Olubitan, the competition is open to Nigerian business owners from age 18 to 55, whose businesses are legal and registered in Nigeria, also female-owned businesses across Africa have an opportunity to access finance, world-class business training as well as mentoring opportunities.

However, this year’s edition is slated to have 27 winners emerge with the top seven receiving financial grants of N5 million and the additional 20 will be consolation prizes which would include free website development, free advertisement, and a mini MBA in collaboration with International Finance Corporation (IFC).

Olubitan said that the bank was expecting 40,000 applications as against 30,000 received last year, noting four thousand applications since it opened. She explained that those who had applied and were not lucky to be selected as one of the top 100 would be harvested into the W Community.

“This is just to ensure that it’s not one winner takes it all. Everybody is a winner. “So, this year’s competition is going to be different. We started in 2019 and we have had it every year till this year,’’ she said.

According to her, they will have free access to information as well as use the toolkit there, to train themselves.

She further explained that season four would have Nigeria standing on its own while the other African countries would coordinate programmes from their markets as well and they would also localise the content, to make it relatable for the women entrepreneurs in their markets

In this year’s competition, there would be cash prizes, and consolation prizes, including non-financial prizes such as insurance packages, three virtual business loans, investor matching opportunities, and other opportunities.

However, the season four competition would create global impact as it would produce 400 mini MBA winners, as against the 200 winners achieved in the past three years across the six geo-political zones in Nigeria.

She said, “So just look at that exponential growth that we are going to have in this year alone because we are opening it up to the countries to set it off themselves. In addition, we are going to have 40 more winners in terms of the cash prizes and non-financial prizes.”

Olubitan added that 10 other African countries had produced 13 grant winners and 10 other consolation prizes across Africa.

Speaking on the impact, she said that it had exposed women to international markets and access to exhibit their products in many countries and the bank had been able to contribute directly and meaningfully to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“Because as you’re empowering the women, they’re increasing their business capacity, they’re able to replicate what they’re doing. So, these are the impacts that we see that propelled us, apart from the fact that it’s profitable’’, she said.

She then disclosed that the bank had given grants worth $55,000 to winners since the inception of the initiative.

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