Women account for half of the world’s population but are faced with more hurdles in accessing financial products and services that can improve their well-being and economic empowerment. UNCTAD, based on the World Bank Financial Inclusion data, estimates that while 72% of men globally had a financial account in 2017, only 65% of women did – a gap of 7 percentage points).
In Nigeria, this gender parity is a concern even though financial inclusion has progressed over the years. According to EfiNA, a financial sector development organisation that promotes inclusive finance in Nigeria, only 15% of women (compared to 27% of men) were banked in 2008 (a gender gap of 12 percentage points). By 2018, 33% of females were banked but the gender gap had worsened to 13 percentage points. In the Global Gender Gap Index 2020 rankings by the World Economic Forum, Nigeria ranked 128 out of 153 countries emphasizing the economic disenfranchisement of women. Given the urgency in bridging the gender divide and enhancing the quality of life for women, policymakers and the public and private sector have continued to collaborate on many fronts.
For Herconomy, Africa’s first women-focused digital platform, changing the course of the financial exclusion narrative and underrepresentation of women in the economy will require a frontline and hands-on approach. Formerly AGS Tribe, the female-focused organization has repositioned itself as a financial technology (Fintech) service provider to democratize economic opportunities for women and even the financial landscape.
“We decided to rebrand this year to Herconomy so the essence of what we do is easily communicated,” “We understand that when the life of a woman is positively impacted, value is created not just for that woman but for the community at large.”Ifedayo Durosinmi-Etti, the founder and CEO of Herconomy.
Following the success of her 2018 book “Accessing Grants for Startups” (which was forwarded by former Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode), Ifedayo founded the AGS Tribe due to popular demand as she kept receiving requests from people from various walks of life, including entrepreneurs and working professionals seeking to improve and build their skill sets and access global opportunities. Sensing a steep knowledge gap, the MBA degree holder decided to take a holistic approach by creating a community that would be a pan-African female-focused network.
To accommodate the growing community, the AGS Tribe was hosted on Telegram which was a fully paid community. “The time on Telegram served as a customer discovery time,” said Ifedayo. “We eventually had to migrate to our mobile application because Telegram was not as supportive and as flexible for what we wanted.”Ifedayo Durosinmi-Etti, the founder and CEO of Herconomy.
Some Angels who invested in Herconomy include:
- Nkiru Ayemere – CEO, Zephans and Co
- Ehi Onwudiwe – Director, Business Transformation, Ernest and Young
- Olanrewaju Smith – CEO, World Bay Technologies
- Ope Makinwa – Head of Reserve, Diageo
- Ama Akpata – Co – Founder, Jand2gidi
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