Living in Nigeria is slowly transforming my outlook to life in many ways. Nigeria has given me the opportunity to grow more into the woman that I want to become, and to discover a world of new things that I never thought I would or could.
Women in Business
The second annual edition of Women of West Africa Entrepreneurship Conference (WOWe) 2014 was held at Oriental Hotel, Lagos. It is a high level networking platform that connects the most influential women in business to exchange ideas on entrepreneurship and leadership. This year’s conference kicked off with chair lady Anita Erskine, Founder & Creative Director of Brand Woman Africa, followed by special guests and speakers who participated in panel discussions and workshops over the two days.
keynote speakers included Honourable Justice Victoria Okobi, Onari Duke (Former First Lady of Cross River State), Adebimpe Ihekuna (First Bank Representative), Ope Wemi Jones (Access Bank Representative), Olubanke Claude-Wilcox (Founder, Fit & Well Complan), Adedoyin Odunfa (CEO Digital Jewels) Folake Folarin-Coker (Tiffany Amber), Michael Akindele (JohnRhoda Ventures), Tewa Onasanya (Publisher Exquisite Magazine), Tope Egbetokun (CEO Entrepreneur Buddy), Honey Ogundeyi (Founder and CEO, Fashpa.com) and Raphael Afaedor (Founder Supermart.ng) and many other women of distinction.
Wow! I guess that’s why they call it WOW entrepreneurs! The experience left me feeling so inspired. These women who had made it were no different from the amazing entrepreneurial women that I have met in London, they exactly the same. Confident in speaking about their business ideas, they knew their industry end to end. These women were on another level, so stunning and they had the sophistication to match. From the very slim to the very large – kudos to all Lagos women! For me it was like attending a business conference and fashion runway at the same time. As I sat in the packed conference hall, I witnessed women from all walks of life take centre stage and share real entrepreneurial journeys, lessons in business, start-ups and growth, and expansion tips for turning talent into profit. It was an inspiring to see so many young and not-so young entrepreneurs in the same room, passionately sharing about taking ownership of their ambitions and thriving in business.
The conference was inspirational on many levels,it made me have a deep sense of hope for positive progress in Nigeria. Nigerian women are amazing leaders and speakers and the world needs to see and know this. There they were, like women all around the world with great ideas who desire to see Nigeria change and progress, and to see an end to failures. Above all they were rising up to the top and facing the challenge of being leaders in a country where education inequality still exists for young women in rural areas. Sitting in the crowded conference room filled with future leaders, I realised that we are the game changers, each and every one of us have the potential to play a role in transforming the country into how we desire it to be.
Original version of this feature was published as a bi-monthly column in the UK newspaper, Nigerian Watch in June 2014.