Small and Medium sized Entrepreneurs across the country are putting in a lot of efforts to survive, scale the hurdles and compete favourably in different sectors.
To carve a niche for themselves they need support, encouragement and a business friendly environment.
The immediate past Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr Olusegun Awolowo has been a pillar of support to many. He recently supported Bellafricana members with a 60 Million Naira Grant.
This opportunity is meant to support their businesses through the Export Development Fund (EDF) via the Expansion Facility Programme [EEFP] which issued a 60 million Naira grant to the 15 awardees of the 3rd ACE Awards as well as a few other Bellafricana members that have shown export potential.
The opportunity unveiled during the 3rd edition of the African Creative Exhibition and Awards, held on the 29th of October 2021, at the BWC Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos will help to transform this businesses to the next phase with ease.
There Mr. Awolowo made clear the commitment of the NEPC to support and grow non-oil exports in the country.
Crude oil forms the major commodity that is being exported in Nigeria currently. In 2020, Crude petroleum topped Nigeria’s commodity export for the year according to COMMODITY.COM. Nigeria presently ranks as the tenth most petroleum-rich nation and by far the most affluent in Africa which makes the reason for being such an exporter of crude oil not far-fetched. This has in some ways made other industries take the back seat because, in recent years, there has been more focus on the country’s exportation of crude oil.
The Export Expansion facility programme, founded as a part of Mr. Awolowo’s legacy to grow Nigeria’s export industry has therefore provided a catalyst that supports the country’s active export businesses and export-ready businesses.
Speaking on this development, the CEO of Bellafricana, Bukky Asehinde could not contain her excitement as she spoke about how Mr. Awolowo through the Nigerian Export Promotion Council has been supportive of the growth and expansion of not just Bellafricana but her members.
“Mr Awolowo has time and time again proven to be a huge supporter not just to me or the over 5000 creatives he has supported through Bellafricana but to many creative entrepreneurs all over Nigeria.
Since the over 5 years that Bellafricana was founded, Mr. Awolowo has been a strong pillar of support to this community, endorsing us fully and boosting our brand credibility”.
She added: “This 60 Million Naira grant by the Export Expansion facility programme will go a long way in pushing many businesses forward. I celebrate Mr. Awolowo for showing us who a true leader is and I know that his legacy will always be known for generations to come”.
Asehinde went on to express her gratitude to Mr. Awolowo for standing by Bellafricana over the years and thanking him for building a legacy through his leadership as the former Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council. “We are proud of his legacy and his support by helping and enabling MSMEs to get to the export level.”
Mr. Awolowo has always supported Bellafricana and her vision to give more visibility to African-owned creative businesses.
He has shown this through his continuous support at every edition of the ACE Awards held since 2017 to laud and encourage the work of highly skilled individuals who are making significant contributions to their respective industries and putting Africa on the world map with their creations.
He has through the Nigerian Export Promotion Council [NEPC] sponsored and supported over 5000 creatives and is now wrapping up with this grant so creative entrepreneurs can scale up their businesses while growing the country’s export industry.
He has also used his encouraging words to push not just entrepreneurs but everyone around him beyond their limits so they can achieve their goals and even surpass them.
It is no wonder Bukky Asehinde describes him as “The father of non-oil exporters.”
One of the awardees and a beneficiary of the grant also appreciated Mr. Awolowo for believing in Nigerian creative entrepreneurs and supporting them in scaling their businesses beyond the shores of the country.
“If we had more people like Mr. Awolowo in this country who have demonstrated true leadership, I have no doubts that we will see more Nigerian entrepreneurs succeeding and getting the visibility they deserve in the global space.”
The Export Expansion Facility Programme [EEFP], a flagship project of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council [NEPC] founded under the leadership of the now former Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council.
The Export Expansion Facility Programme seeks to democratize the discovery of exporters and their access to relevant government incentives to grow. The initiative supports businesses in Nigeria, with at least one customer abroad, or working on acquiring customers abroad.
It also supports businesses in Nigeria that provide services that an export business might need and it offers these businesses a series of incentives to expand their reach and become an exporter.
Bellafricana is a tech-enabled community that provides a platform for Nigerian and African Creative entrepreneurs in the Fashion, Arts & Crafts, Home & Living, Beauty, and Food produce & Snacks Industry to gain visibility, increase sales, and have the right business support and structure that gives them the capacity to grow their business.
Bellafricana’s vision is to become the biggest e-commerce company that promotes African products to the world and is on the verge of accomplishing this as it recently launched a Marketplace [www.bellafricanashop.com].