Dr. Kema Chikwe, Nigeria’s former Minister for Aviation has hailed the leadership of Women in Logistics and Transport (WiLAT) for being consistent over the years in advancing the cause of women entrepreneurs in the country.
This is even as stakeholders called for more deliberate actions and less rhetoric on the part of women entrepreneurs in the face of unfavourable policies while reiterating the role of mentorship.
Chikwe spoke during the 11th WiLAT Day Conference held in Lagos under the theme “Women Entrepreneurs In A Dynamic Environment”.
“How do we change the dynamics? How do we change our approach? How do we change our strategies? Because they don’t seem to be working. And that’s the truth of the matter. Never mind that there are many women entrepreneurs, but I can tell you that while you’re here, I am 100% sure that the policies do not favor your enterprise, and you’re struggling to make it work. Same as all the women entrepreneurs here. Because their feelings, their challenges, their problems, and their path to success, are not considered.
So that is why it is wonderful that organizations like WiLAT have been consistent. It is wonderful that WiLAT is able to sustain the zeal, and the enthusiasm because we want to make the industry better. And I can tell you that if you continue on this path and you attract more women, and we have a critical mass of women standing up for themselves, things are bound to change. My advice to women nowadays, is we have been doing the same thing time and time again, so, there is a need to do things differently” she advised. Earlier, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), LELOOK Nigeria Ltd. Chief Chinwe Ezenwa while delivering her keynote address themed, “Women Entrepreneurs in Dynamic Environment” tasked the women to hone their entrepreneurial skills which would help them to be more creative and relevant in the society.
Ezenwa advised women to stop flamboyant lifestyles and be courageous to face challenges. She urged women entrepreneurs to approach the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) to access loans that they can use to scale up their businesses.
“Women should engage in strategic thinking to enable them to remain in business. To succeed in business, entrepreneurs should always improve on the welfare of their staff and expect the best from them,” she said. Earlier in her welcome address, President, WiLAT Nigeria, Hajia Khadija Shehu-Shabi, said the association had set aside last Thursday of July for the annual conference.
Shehu-Shabi said the conference was an avenue for knowledge transfer, as well as opportunity to meet people of diverse fields and mentors. “This event provides us an avenue for knowledge transfer which we all will benefit from today, from our invited professional speakers with in-depth knowledge and experience of relevant and current issues In the industry. It also affords us networking opportunities to meet people of various diverse fields. At the end of every WiLAT (Nig) Day Conference, Participants are well-off in work or business experience” she added.
Delivering her goodwill message, the President, Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT), Mrs Mfon Usoro, commended the strides made by WiLAT over the years. Usoro, who was represented by Dr Reynolds Shodeinde, a National Director at CILT applauded its effort in breaking barriers and creating an environment where women could thrive.
“As we look back on the journey that brought us here, we cannot help but be amazed by the strides WiLAT has made through its collective, resilient membership, nationally and internationally. You started this unified body with a vision – a vision to break barriers, shatter glass ceilings, and create an environment where every woman can thrive and succeed. And see how much success has been made!
Through dedication, resilience, and unwavering determination, WiLAT has transformed challenges into opportunities. It has created spaces where ideas are born, talents are nurtured, and dreams take flight. It has demonstrated that women’s strength lies not only in individual brilliance but also in the power of collaboration, camaraderie, and sisterhood” she started.
Continuing, Usoro reiterated the need for mentorship and embracing the challenges that lie ahead. “But this journey is not solely about celebrating accomplishments; it is also about embracing the challenges that lie ahead. In the face of adversity, remember that the strength within you knows no bounds. And as you scale new heights of success, not only in your own lives in this hall but the lives of countless others, changing the landscape of our profession. Let us seek mentorship and offer guidance, for it is through such exchanges that we grow and thrive. filled with courage.
Let us embrace innovation and stay adaptable in the ever-dynamic world. So, as we move forward into the future, let us do so with heads held high and hearts another. Together, you are an unstoppable force, capable of transforming not only be mindful of the responsibility you carry – to support, uplift, and empower one another” she said.
On her part, the Secretary-General, Africa Ship Owners Association, Mrs Funmi Folorunsho, encouraged women in the transportation industry to invest in knowledge. Folorunsho encouraged them to tap the potential and opportunities in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). The President, Women in Maritime West and Central Africa (WIMOCA), Mrs Tosan Edodo-Emore, in her goodwill message promised to continue to partner with WiLAT to enable women to succeed in the transport and maritime industry.
Director, Sincpoint Supply Chain in South Africa, Madam Lebogang Letsoalo, encouraged women to extend networking to other countries in West and Central Africa to facilitate trade. Letsoalo said that Women in Logistics in South Africa was working towards getting a ship owned by women to support their personal income.
In her presentation titled “Causes of Aging and Early Death in Women Entrepreneurs” Dr Nkemjiaka Iloka, Principal Medical Officer, Nigeria Railway Hospital encouraged women to always share their health change status with their loved ones to help them to get quicker solutions.
Iloka asked women to have role models to inspire them, adding that they should also be positive and avoid fighting one another. She said that women should engage themselves in exercise on a daily basis, which would help them to be healthy to perform their tasks.
The event witnessed business presentations from Brains and Hammers, a prominent Real Estate firm in the country on how women can tap into the investment opportunities in the real estate sector and how to become home owners as well.
There was also a business presentation from Access Bank Plc on investment opportunity available to women and the various channels of funds that are available to women entrepreneur to tap into to scale up their businesses. Source: www.mmsplusng.com