In November 2021, Export Expansion Facility Programme (EEFP), UK Nigeria Tech Hub and Future Females Empowerment Initiatives launched a new and exciting partnership to support local female entrepreneurs who are ready to trade beyond Nigeria’s borders. Three months later, the pilot Women Trade Scaleup programme has concluded and has supported local female entrepreneurs with the skills and strategies to build globally thriving businesses.

Nigeria currently has the largest market in Africa with a population of over 200 million, and with the world becoming more interconnected, having a business that meets customers across the globe is becoming increasingly essential.

Through the three-month Women Trade Scaleup programme, 80+ Nigerian trade-ready female entrepreneurs accessed training through three intensive bootcamps, and were supported with expert coaching, expert mentorship, accountability forums and community engagement sessions, to unlock their entrepreneurial spirit, and see tangible growth in their businesses.


The three intensive bootcamps provided participants with a wide range of knowledge from trade experts. November kicked off with the first bootcamp where participants were taken through the fundamentals of trade, trade policies and tariffs, trade strategies, market research for trade and market entry strategies. The second two-day bootcamp in December supported members to prepare their businesses for trade. Some key areas included digital marketing & sales, business model & operations for trade, and cross-border payments.

The last bootcamp in January focused on different strategies to finance a trade business. Financial strategies and revenue models for trade businesses are among the topics that were explored.

The programme brought exceptional feedback from the members with  100% reporting that their trade knowledge and technical skills have improved, 70% increased their revenue, and 73% saw an increase in customer numbers since joining the programme.

One of the graduates, Elizabeth Nwankwo, founder of Oklan Best, increased her revenue by 20%, almost doubled her customer base and has now listed her products on Amazon which are being sold in Canada!

Throughout the programme, Judith Idialu, founder of Bigfarm foods reported a revenue increase of 40% and 40 new customers. She is now exporting to new markets including the UK, Kenya, Ghana.

Elizabeth and Judith are not the exceptions. As the programme concludes, graduates only have brilliant wins to share; from winning grants worth millions of Naira, being featured on national media, to being nominated for prestigious awards; these women are ready to embrace a new global market.

The programme had remarkable coaches and mentors who are experts in their respective fields. Programme expert mentor, Adetokunbo Adewoyin, is the principal consultant of Fortress20 Commodities, a foremost agricultural exports management and consulting firm in Nigeria. She is the programme’s Sourcing and Logistics Expert Mentor with over 13 years of experience in agricultural commodities and containerised exports.

Coach Titi Ojo is the founder/CEO Agrochains Consult Services Ltd, a company that provides strategic services in the agriculture value chain and non-oil export sector. She consults in the international development space with a focus on building a thriving non-oil exports sector through enabling trade policies, capacity building for exporters and market access development.

Commenting on the Women Trade Scaleup pilot programme and bootcamp, Maureen Ideozu, Programme Coordinator of EEFP said, “We are very pleased with the take-off of the Women Trade Scaleup programme. It is one of the important inclusion interventions at EEFP to enhance the capability of Nigerian women to participate in the non-oil export sector. By design, EEFP is a short-term intervention to stimulate and invigorate the non-oil export ecosystem. To achieve wide scale high impact results within a tight timeframe, we adopted a collaborative approach, working with credible and reliable partners. The benefit of this approach is aptly demonstrated by the progress made so far by the Women Trade Scaleup Programme. We thank our partners UK-Nigeria Tech Hub and Future Females Empowerment Initiatives for their commitment and professionalism, as we look forward to increased participation and survival of women owned businesses in international trade; attributable to the quality of expert training, mentorship and access through the programme.”

“Trading across borders is a key ingredient for economic growth and prosperity,” comments Adaeze Sokan, Director of UK Nigeria Tech Hub, “Entrepreneurs leveraging innovation are the ones that will catalyse poverty reduction and inclusive growth but they must think scale from idea conceptualisation and adopt the concept of glocalisation in their business planning – i.e. grow business locally but aim to expand to global markets. This is why we endorse this project and applaud the EEPF/NEPC in their efforts to encourage women entrepreneurs to be ambitious enough to go global.”

“We are delighted to partner with EEFP and The UK-Nigeria Tech Hub to support women in Nigeria to trade internationally! Many women go through our Future Females Business School with physical products, implementing technical tools and capabilities to grow their business, but the support to help them on export principles, requirements, knowledge and access to expert mentors and coaches have been missing. Women are creating beautiful products, building amazing businesses, and being able to help them scale in market size and geography excites us so much! We are learning more about the export requirements and how to support women in this space even more.” says Cerina Bezuidenhout, Future Females COO and Cofounder.

With the calibre of coaches and mentors in the programme, the success of the pilot Women Trade Scaleup Programme comes as no surprise. It looks like 2022 will see more women accessing and thriving in Nigeria’s export market.

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