Sterling One Foundation to Bridge $1.7 Trillion Financing Gap for Women Entrepreneurs

Sterling One Foundation has called for strategic partnerships to address the $1.7 trillion financing gap facing women entrepreneurs. This call was made during the 10th annual Ring the Bell for Gender Equality/Closing Gong ceremony held at the Nigerian Exchange Group.

Under the theme ‘Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress’, stakeholders gathered to discuss the challenges hindering Nigerian women’s full potential and explore opportunities for their advancement.

Speakers emphasized the urgent need to bridge the gender gap by advocating for increased inclusion of women in leadership roles, investing in women-led enterprises, enhancing capacity-building initiatives, and providing strategic support to female leaders across various sectors.

Mrs. Olapeju Ibekwe, CEO of Sterling One Foundation, stressed the importance of partnerships in accelerating progress for women, aligning with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 17. She highlighted the Africa Social Impact Summit (ASIS) as a platform for fostering innovative solutions to Africa’s developmental challenges through strategic collaborations.

Dr. Irene Robinson-Ayanwale, Divisional Head of Business Support Services/General Counsel of Nigerian Exchange Limited, underscored gender equality as a catalyst for exponential growth within the Nigerian Capital Market and the broader economy.

Oluwasoromidayo George, Chair of the UN Global Compact Network Nigeria Board, emphasized the criticality of closing the gender gap to achieve SDG 5 (Gender Equality) by 2030, highlighting the role of the private sector in driving progress.

The United Nations estimated that the gender pay gap costs the global economy $160 trillion annually. Addressing this gap will unlock significant opportunities for advancement across the SDGs.

The event featured speakers such as Olubukanla Rufai from the Securities and Exchange Commission, Yemisi Ayeni from NASCON Allied Industries Plc, and Bolanle Austen-Peters from Terra Kulture, fostering meaningful dialogue and collaboration to drive transformative progress for women in Nigeria and across Africa.