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Group empowers Kaduna women on entrepreneurship, start-up capital

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Al-Manar Women Association (AMWA), a Kaduna-based group of elite Hausa women, has trained 200 indigent women on keys to successful entrepreneurship and also supported the women with start-up grants and various tools.

Al-Manar Women Association (AMWA), a Kaduna-based group of elite Hausa women, has trained 200 indigent women on keys to successful entrepreneurship and also supported the women with start-up grants and various tools.

Held at the Dialogue Conference Hall, Ali Akilu Road, Kaduna State recently, with the theme: “Business Creation and Development, Stimulating Start-ups,” household entrepreneurs and business scholars were on hand to empower selected audience, who were made up of poor widows, single mothers, orphans, Internally Displaced Persons and handful survivors of domestic violence, among others.

Accompanying the training was a package of N25,000 take-off grant allocated to each of the attendees, out of which larger part of the sums were used to procure petty trading tools, ranging from pots, stoves, kettles, firewood, frying pans, cooking gas, raw food materials among others, that were distributed to beneficiaries alongside stipends ranging between N3,000 and N5,000, as logistics to ply the freshly minted business skills.

Founded 13 years ago, AMWA’s Ameerah/President, Hajia Rabi Umar Sodangi, who is also the former Acting Director General and Chief Executive of the National Steel Raw Materials Exploration Agency, explained that since it existence, the volunteer group has directly rescued, economically rehabilitated and reintegrated as many as 15,000 lives touched by insurgency, abject poverty and or victims/sufferers of HIV/AIDS, through its various restoration and rebuilding initiatives.

In his lecture, the lead presenter, Chairman, Sidi & Sons Group of Companies Abubakar Dnasadau, explained that the key to unlocking the art and science of a successful business is to understanding the basic principle that “businesses are primarily designed to fulfil customers’ desires and not the business person’s desires.”

He added that “conducting enough feasibility study about the chosen business; understanding the terrain of such business and how best the customers want to be served or serviced” are the guaranteed steps to succeeding.

Delivering the second paper, titled “Ethics and Etiquettes of successful business,” Alhaji Mahdi Shehu, Chairman, Dialogue Group of Companies, emphasised that “commercial endeavours, big, medium and or small, have operation codes that must be observed in order to be successful.

He stressed that those ethics, which essentially dwells on doing things right and doing things the right way, keeping and maintaining standards, helping consumers to solve problems among others, “are part of the solutions, plus the absolute capacity to inform, educate, and meet customers’ desires.

According to him, “no doubt, when diligently followed, these preconditions can even rob off positively on private lives, including the possibility to put our society on a sound footing. They are capable of leading to a prosperous society and economy.”

Hajia Bilkisu Aliyu is a 30-year old mother of two children, who was until the workshop a full house wife but now part of the highly transformed and motivated young business owners.

According to her, “I was not working before. But now, at this training, I have realised the need for a woman to be gainfully engaged.

“Luckily for me, I have started something at this training. I’ve realized that nobody does danwake (beans dumplings, eaten with maggi, salt, pepper and oil) in my neighbourhood. So, I have started marketing it to my neighbors as we were told. Now AMWA has also given me all materials including pot and stove to start my business.

“Alhamdulillah, I now know that I need to keep up the business for my dignity. I’m going to think and come up with my vision and set my goals. I’ll also plan how to market my product too,” she added, beaming with smile.

Unlike Bikilisu, Hajia Hafsat Aliyu, a 20-year-old housewife says her husband’s inability to satisfy her financial needs had earlier prompted her into planning a petty business, frying of Masa, a popular maze/rice cake more predominantly amongst the Northern people, but she is was unable to start because of startup capital.

“But at this training, Alhamdulillah, I have learnt a lot on how to market and package my masa. I have a vision to be producing masa of 1bag of rice daily with two rams and 200pcs of chicken and selling it all daily. My name Hafsa mai masa will be known all over, people will order my masa from Abuja, Insha Allahu.

“I have no capital to start the business before, but AMWA has now given me the rice, stoves, masa pan, soup pot and N5,000 to buy other materials to start masa business. I’ll start informing my neighbours in preparation to market my masa as I learnt in this workshop.

“Before, sometimes my husband will not answer me when I request for something or money. But now that I have a business, I can do a lot for myself. And I can even give him money to support him,” She added.


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