Following the closure of nominations for the Better Life Programme for the African Rural Woman (BLPARW) Innovative Entrepreneur Award in June, nine talented and remarkable young Nigerian women have advanced to the coveted finalists’ stage. These outstanding entrepreneurs are:
1. Hanatu Abdulakeem of Craft Planet Nigeria
2. Kemisola Bolarinwa of Nextwear Technologies Limited
3. Cythia Chisom of Aboki Africa
4. Lilian Iwelu of GDEV Consultancy
5. Doosughun Takur of Clean Technology Hub
6. Rukayat Abdul Ganiyu of Nafarm Foods
7. Atinuke Lebile of Cato Foods
8. Nwodo Joy Oluebube of Joy Doves Enterprises
9. Oluwatosin Oladotun of Ewatomi Business Hub
In addition to these impressive individuals, other nominees, who have secured a place on the finalists’ list hail from diverse African nations, including South Africa, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Congo, Rwanda, Kenya, Cameroon, and Burundi. BLPARW is bestowing these prestigious awards to inspire female entrepreneurs across Africa to nurture businesses, generate employment opportunities, and enhance livelihoods. The award spotlights businesses that positively impact vulnerable populations, exemplify innovation, and are led by talented women entrepreneurs harnessing technology in their enterprises.
Through this platform, exceptional businesswomen from various sectors, who consistently exhibit remarkable growth, change, or impact are celebrated, their accomplishments showcased, and their successes lauded. The award features two categories: Entrepreneurial Award Category and the Special Award Category. The Entrepreneurial Award Category comprises seven sub-categories:
1. Innovator of the Year: Recognising entrepreneurs behind groundbreaking ideas challenging conventional norms, capitalising on overlooked trends, and leveraging hidden capabilities and resources.
2. Disruptor of the Year: Acknowledging individuals, who have displayed exceptional creativity, originality, and entrepreneurial spirit while pursuing new ideas and innovative solutions.
3. Sustainability Entrepreneur of the Year: Honouring entrepreneurs committed to producing sustainable products or services, possessing a clear roadmap, and actively contributing to combating climate change while educating their customers or clients on environmental sustainability.
4. Green Entrepreneur of the Year: Celebrating the most innovative and promising locally-driven enterprises addressing climate change’s effects or preparing for future impacts.
5. Start-Up Entrepreneur of the Year: Commending entrepreneurs, who have successfully operated their businesses for 1-3 years, achieving noteworthy success and earning respect in the process.
6. Scale-Up Entrepreneur of the Year: Recognising entrepreneurs, who have expanded their businesses and achieved a minimum of 20% growth in three years, with at least 10 employees.
7. Small Online Business of the Year: Applauding entrepreneurs with a strong online presence, who thrive through a strategic marketing mix, even without a physical storefront.
The voting phase, concluding on October 19, 2023, will determine the award winners, who will be unveiled at a later date. These awardees stand to gain substantial benefits, including enhanced business credibility, free business development support services, prominent features on websites and publications, and cash prizes totaling $1,000 for each category. In the Special Award Category, entrepreneurs from African countries demonstrating exceptional business acumen will receive the title of “Entrepreneur of the Year”. Seven African countries with the highest nominations will be considered for this special award, titled “Entrepreneur of the Year” in their respective nations. In total, 14 nominees will be honoured, with each category attracting a $1,000 prize, culminating in a collective reward of $14,000 across the 14 categories.