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How Kano women entrepreneurs are bridging gaps, changing narratives

Amina Abdullahi Shuaib is a young entrepreneur who ventured into poultry business after secondary school education in 2018 after getting her inspiration from her mother…

Amina Abdullahi Shuaib is a young entrepreneur who ventured into poultry business after secondary school education in 2018 after getting her inspiration from her mother who was also into the business.

She has been able to grow the business from a few birds to 100 over the course of four years but a grant intervention of N50,000 from StartUpKano, a business incubation and acceleration hub, has now enabled her to increase her business capacity by 50%.

Amina is among the 10 rising women entrepreneurs in Kano State out of 200 applicants to have won the N50,000 grant interventions each from StartUpKano to boost their businesses.

“I can now stretch my budget to increase the number of poultry I put from 100 to 150 especially now that the agro foods are expensive; the grant intervention from StartupKano will augment my budget to make my poultry business flourish,” Amina said.

Aside these 10 women, over 800 other women entrepreneurs were also mentored on entrepreneurship, business start-ups and sustainability.

Despite the daunting challenges of starting up a business, a lot of women have been able to fight against all odds in standing out among their peers, making fortunes by diving into the world entrepreneurship in various businesses.

In an effort to promote technology, entrepreneurship and agribusiness by women, young girls and youth in Kano State, StartupKano in collaboration with Sterling Bank Ltd and support from Daily Trust, organised the 5th edition of the Women Founders Conference 2022 to focus on mentoring women in business and start-ups.

The conference which was held in Kano brought together women in businesses to share their stories and practical advice to help and inspire other women entrepreneurs and start-ups to take their dreams with compassion and pride.

Some of the Speakers are Hajiya Amal Hassan, CEO of Outsource Global; Zainab Buba Galadima, a grassroot politician; Hauwa Bako, CEO HB Green Acres Farm & Agro Allied Ltd; Hajara Masaga, Founder of The Airmingle; Dr Amina Sambo Magaji from Digital Economy, NITDA, as well as Mr Abubakar Suleiman, MD/CEO of Sterling Bank Plc.

A cross section of the participants


One of the participants, Maryam Umar, who owns a catering business, explained how the conference inspired and helped her to network with other women in business.

“I am excited to have met with great minds and strong women in businesses, and I have also learnt from their stories in order to surmount the challenges in my business.”

Amira Yusif, who is also a Kano-based entrepreneur with an established make-up business, pointed out that having attended the women conference, she can now leverage the technological ideas discussed at the gathering to promote her business and increase her customers.

Several other women also bagged awards of excellence of the 50 inspiring women in northern Nigeria for their mammoth contribution in the state towards changing the narratives of entrepreneurship and women growth.

A chef, Hafsatu Ibrahim Yahaya, was among others who received the award of recognition for their immense efforts and contribution in society. Hafsatu, who started her company, Safron Catering, in 2006, has been an advocate for promoting and remodelling Arewa (northern) dishes and delicacies to achieve international recognition.

“I have been teaching women how to cook, partnering with companies and organisations on different types of Arewa dishes as well as their nutritional values. I have been doing this for 16 years and that is why I am so grateful that the Women Founders’ conference recognised my effort and contributions to society,” she added.

Intisar Bashir Kurfi, who owns Ifrik Eco Solutions, a company that recycles waste into interlocks, said the award given to her will serve as a motivation to other women to realise the value of establishing problem-solving businesses that would bring change in society.

Another entrepreneur, Farida Yahaya, the founder of the Brief Academy also received the award of the 50 inspiring women in northern Nigeria. She said she received the award for her effort in working with female founders to help women to meet their businesses better, enter the markets and scale their businesses in the best way. 

In her remarks, Aisha Tofa, the co-founder of StartupKano, said having realised the unavailability of job opportunities for the youths, StartupKano was established in order to create a platform for young people to interact, network and provide solutions and opportunities among themselves.

Tofa pointed out that the women in northern Nigeria have been left behind and facing religious, traditional, and socio-economic challenges that stop them from achieving their goals.

She further explained that the Women Founders’ Conference was organised to bring together women in businesses to give talks, advice and share experiences for other women to learn among each other in order to be able to compete locally and globally.

Some participants who spoke to Daily Trust expressed their satisfaction with the programME, calling on the organisers to continue. Halima Aminu, a housewife who ventured into interior decoration business in the past two years, said that she has been motivated and inspired by the people she met at the event.

“To me, the Women Founders’ Conference is like an eye opener, because I am now being motivated and inspired by the speakers who talked not only on their success stories but also on the challenges that a business owner may encounter in her day-to-day affairs business,” she said.

Halima added that she also benefited from the conference as she used the gathering as an avenue to advertise her wares to the participants.

“You know these days, networking is very important in the business. So I used the conference as an avenue to get contact of other business women. I also shared my flyers to the new people I met at the conference. And Alhamdullilah! Since then people have started calling me and buying my wares.”

Working with these other businesses can help you reach new customers and establish your credentials on a national or even international scale, all of which can help grow your business, she added.

In her remarks at the conference, a business consultant, Malama Hafsat Ahmad said that a business has both good and bad sides that an entrepreneur has to believe in.   

“As a business owner, you have to understand that the path of business isn’t always smooth; just ask any entrepreneur. Sometimes, it helps to hear some business success stories, especially when you’re mired in the details of writing a business plan, getting a business loan, or finding a space. Even the most successful businesses-small, medium, and large alike-went through their share of challenges. And it can be so helpful to remind yourself you’re not crazy for feeling overwhelmed. When you’re deep in the weeds of starting your business, it can be easy to think about quitting, but learning about others’ success can help lift your spirits,” she advised.

She added that determination is the key of any successful business, calling on the entrepreneurs to shun the compelling desires to go for quick wins.

“In each case, determination and willpower helped the entrepreneurs to take an idea and convert it into a profitable venture,” she said.

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