In a bid to address the challenges women-owned businesses face especially as it relates to making the transition to online business, the Women Arise and Humanitarian Initiative, (WAHDI) in collaboration with the Abuja Chamber of Commerce, (ACC) hosted the Aba Market Women at the 6th edition of the Araha Market on Saturday, July 3, 2021, in Abuja, Nigeria.

The Araha Market is a hybrid market that provides a platform for mainly women-owned businesses to showcase, their products, meet directly with their customers, network with potential investors and stakeholders in a physical market setting while they also trade online to reach a wider export market outside the shores of the country.

Women Businesses in Covid-19 Era

At the height of the Covid-19 Pandemic, many women-owned small businesses witnessed a slump in sales, because their customers found it difficult to access them in a physical market, as many of them migrated to online sales platforms to buy their goods due to lockdown restrictions.

Limited access to the internet and lack of technical know-how in navigating the internet has been identified as some of the factors that made it difficult for women-owned small businesses to make the transition from physical markets to online sales platforms at the peak of the pandemic.

At the event,  the Director-General, Abuja Chamber of Commerce, Victoria Akai, and The Convener and President of Women Arise and Humanitarian Initiative, Esther Mishelia, inspected the goods on display and gave an on the spot assessment to the women. They also gave the women tips to improve the quality and packaging of their products to meet global standards.

The DG ACC, Victoria Akai, expressed optimism that the market would put more money in the pockets of the rural women present at the market and also provide an opportunity for relevant stakeholders to interact with the local women to get first-hand information on the challenges women businesses face. This would help them provide an effective response to the identified needs, to ensure women-owned businesses are not left behind in the emerging digital economy.

Mrs. Mishelia, expressed her satisfaction with some of the quality of goods displayed by the women. She noted that asides from the lack of access to internet facilities many women-owned businesses struggle with packaging and record-keeping, which makes it hard for them to access loans and compete favourably in the local and international markets.

She explained that since its inception WAHDI and ACC, through the Araha market initiative have trained over 4,000 women in that regard.

The highlight of the event was the launch of the Knowledge on the Go (KWOGO) App. The app is designed to train women on how to do business online and keep records of their transactions.

Story: Ihuoma Ukeje


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