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MTN Nigeria Foundation has invested N600 million in the second phase of its Y’ellopreneur initiative, as an effort to reduce female unemployment in Nigeria, which stood at 35.2 per cent in 2020.

The MTN Y’ellopreneur Initiative seeks to contribute to the reduction in women unemployment and advance women development in ‘Entrepreneurship’ through capacity building and access to loans, grants, and advisory support services for long term business sustainability.

The executive director, MTN Nigeria Foundation, Odunayo Sanya, at the launching of the phase 2 of the Yellopreneur initiative, on Tuesday, in Lagos, said gender inequality is a major cause of hunger and poverty.

On what to expect in the second phase of the initiative, Sanya averred that the initiative will administer 5-week online entrepreneurial skills and masterclass training for 1,000 female entrepreneurs, adding that, “MTN is investing N600 million in the second phase of the initiative, the sum of N450 million is available for 150 qualified Y’ellopreneurs to access as equipment loans and upon full repayment of the loan, the sum of N112,500,000, would be refunded as grants to the Y’ellopreneurs.

In her remarks, the Lagos state commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs Bolaji Dada, applauded the Y’ellopreneur initiative, while describing it as a means to tackle women unemployment and poverty in the state. “I am using this medium to appeal to female entrepreneurs to apply for the second phase of the initiative,” she added.

A director at MTN Nigeria Foundation, Mrs Aishatu Sadauki said that women constitute 50 per cent of the Nigerian population, yet only about 35 per cent of them are involved in entrepreneurship in the form of Micro, Small, Medium and Large enterprises.

She asserted that the empowerment of women has been identified as a significant step to social-economic development. “Understanding the need to support female entrepreneurs and provide them some of the resources that will enable them thrive in their businesses, was what gave birth to the Y’ellopreneur Initiative, an initiative aimed at reducing female unemployment and advance women development through training, designed to enhance their entrepreneurial skills,” Sadauki affirmed.

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