April 2, 2024

Highlights from the Inspire Inclusion IWD Conference 2024

IWD 2024

On March 29, 2024, the Oriental Hotel located in Victoria Island, Lagos, was bustling with excitement as entrepreneurs, innovators, and advocates gathered together to attend the Inspire Inclusion International Women’s Day (IWD) Conference. The event was organized by SME100Africa and generously sponsored by Sparkle, AXA, Union Bank, LIRS, Loopify, Inventa, and Ovaloop. Its main objective was to celebrate diversity, empower women entrepreneurs, and promote inclusivity in both business and society. The conference was hosted by the dynamic Gloria Olufeko, a trailblazer in her own right and a past recipient of the 25under25 awards. It featured a rich array of engaging activities, insightful discussions, and inspiring moments.

At the conference, one of the most notable events was the display of various products from businesses representing diverse sectors. The exhibition showcased a wide range of items, from arts and crafts to sustainable fashion and everything in between. This diverse array of products on display highlighted the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of women in Nigeria. Attendees had the opportunity to network, learn about new ventures, and support women-owned businesses.

The conference started with two inspiring keynote speeches delivered by Chioma Nwokike from Union Bank and Titilola Vivour Adeniyi from Lagos DSVA, both distinguished women leaders. Their speeches set the tone for the day, highlighting the significance of gender equality, financial empowerment, and social justice.

Spoken word performances by Taw Luyi and Era added creativity and culture to the event, captivating the audience and showcasing the diverse talents of Nigerian artists.

Natasha Waku, who is the Program Lead of SME100Africa, presented an impact report that showcased the organization’s accomplishments in promoting entrepreneurship and supporting women-owned businesses. The report highlighted the significant impact of initiatives such as the International Women’s Day Conference in driving positive change and fostering inclusive economic growth.

During the event, two panel discussions were held to provide valuable insights and perspectives on key issues that women entrepreneurs face. The first panel, moderated by Gloria Olufeko, explored the topic of “Sustainable Innovation and Creativity for Leveling Up”. Panelists from Sparkle, AXA, Loopify, and Inventa shared their experiences and strategies for utilizing innovation to drive business growth and tackle societal challenges.

During the second panel discussion, which was moderated by Odunola Abayomi, the focus was on “Emerging Opportunities and Positioning for Women Entrepreneurs.” Representatives from NOVVA Media & Communications, LIRS, Ovaloop, and Sparkle participated in the panel and shared insights on how to leverage emerging trends and opportunities to succeed in the competitive business landscape.

Imade Ighagbon from Sparkle and Angela Morenike Adebayo, the Managing Director of Inventa, delivered insightful presentations, showcasing support systems available to women entrepreneurs through their respective organizations.

One of the most exciting parts of the conference was the pitch competition sponsored by AXA. The competition had over 15 participants from various business sectors. Lawon Ajoke, who is the founder of The Calcium Hub, was declared the winner of the competition and received a grant of 1 million naira. The 1st and 2nd runners-up of the competition also received 200,000 naira each. Additionally, they were given access to various tools and resources provided by the conference sponsors and partners.

The Inspire Inclusion International Women’s Day (IWD) Conference held in 2024 was a huge success, as it brought together women entrepreneurs to celebrate their accomplishments while promoting diversity and inclusivity in business. As we take a moment to reflect on the conference’s events, let us continue to support and empower women as they navigate their entrepreneurial journey, drive positive change, and create a more inclusive and equitable future for all.

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