By Philip Yatai

A Kaduna-based NGO, One Tribe Initiative, has equipped about 200 women in Kaduna state with digital skills to leverage digital tools to grow and expand their businesses.

The Executive Director of the Initiative, Ms Magdaline Musa, said at the opening of a two-day seminar in Kaduna on Tuesday, that the gesture was in commemoration of the 2023 International Women’s Day (IWD).

Musa said that the training was in line with the 2023 IWD theme:“Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality”, in partnership with Low-Income Financial Transformation (L-IFT).

Other partners, she said, included Jennifer Etuh Foundation (JEF), Citizens Digital Education Centre (CIDEC), Thinkers Children Foundation (TCF) and Legal Awareness for Nigerian Women (LANW).

She said that the training was designed to equip women with digital skills to enable them to take advantage of digital technology for the growth and expansion of their business.

“This is in line with One Tribe Initiative’s believes in creating a safe space for displaced persons and underserved population and the passion to provide solutions to women leveraging technology,” she said.

She added that the goal was also to expose the women to online markets stalls, financial tools like Finbit Application available on google store, to manage their business finances and records.

The executive director described Finbit application as a “digital financial tool” that can help businessmen and women to record their income, expenses, assets, loans, and human resources.

She added that the application would also help the women to monitor the growth or otherwise of their businesses, adding that they can download weekly, monthly, or annual financial reports from the application.

She pointed out that currently, the men dominated the digital space, with only a few women taking advantage of the huge potential it offers.

She attributed part of the challenges to the erroneous perception among women that technology was too complex.

“We want the women to understand that something as small as their android phones can go a long way in helping them to drive online traffic and achieve business growth and transformation.

“After the training, we will be having follow up sessions with the participants to discuss their growth challenges, experiences.

“Also, one of our partners, L-IFT, is already in talks with financial institutions to see how they can provide soft loans to the women who are using the app in managing their businesses,” she said.

Ms Anne Swinderen, Managing Director, L-IFT, the company that developed the Finbit technology, explained that using the platform would help women get detailed understanding of their business finances.

Swinderen said that with the application, the women can see the profitability of their business, which activities were earning more, and what was earning more per hour and many other things.

“It will help you determine which month you have higher cost and running short of money and which month you have more income. All these analyses will help you year on year to prepare.

“Once you have Finbit data for some months, you can start showing them to business partners or to banks.

“The Finbit data helps you show what your business is like, how reliable you are, what your business needs and how you are developing over time.

“This will help you make new partnerships and make it possible for banks to better serve you,” she said.

Also, the Programme Manager, JEF, Mr Joseph Otu, one of the partners of the event, said that the gesture would make women more digitally inclined in running their businesses.

“Women are making a lot of profits, but they are not accounting for the profits deliberately. Sometimes they inject part of their earnings to family expenses.

“The Finbit App, therefore, will help them to checkmate their income and expenses better.

“We will be tracking their progress and nurture them on how they will make the best use of the application to grow their businesses,” Otu said.

One of the participants, Ms Rebecca Philip, running a catering, spices and poultry business, thanked the organisers of the training, describing it as an “eye-opener”.

“I am a novice in the use of online application for my business, but the training had expanded my knowledge. Now I am equip with the needed skills to use online applications to grow my business,” she said. (NAN)