A Celebration of Audacious Business Women In Nigeria — Guardian Life — The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News

By Shola – Adido Oladotun

October 23, 2022 | 6:00 am

What comes to mind when you hear the word “Bold”? For Veuve Clicquot, it’s about celebrating the efforts of incredible women in whose lexicon the word “impossibility” has no place. Inspired by the audacity of Madame Clicquot and to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the House, Veuve Clicquot has decided to pay tribute to this great audacious woman…

What comes to mind when you hear the word “Bold”? For Veuve Clicquot, it’s about celebrating the efforts of incredible women in whose lexicon the word “impossibility” has no place.
Inspired by the audacity of Madame Clicquot and to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the House, Veuve Clicquot has decided to pay tribute to this great and daring woman by creating the Bold Woman Award. This initiative is passionately committed to empowering successive generations of bold female leaders. It supports and gives voice to women entrepreneurs to encourage future generations to be even more daring.
We are making history as this year marks the first time the world renowned award will be launched in Nigeria. 2022 also marks the 50th anniversary of this coveted award which recognizes the impact of female leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship around the world.
The Bold Woman Award will recognize an outstanding Nigerian female leader who will join the ranks of an illustrious list of over 410 bold women honored with this prestigious award in 27 countries. This awards ceremony was inspired by Madame Clicquot, a pioneer who embodied resilience and courage when she took the reins of the management of Maison Veuve Clicquot at a time when women were not allowed to work or own a business.

Selected from a group of over 250 visionary Nigerian businesswomen, the founder of Affiong Williams, ReelFruit, Ifedayo Durosinmi-Etti, founder of Herconomy, and Ifeoluwa Dare-Johnson, founder of Healtracka, appeared in the top 3 In a quick chat with Guardian Life, the finalists whose personalities and works faithfully reflect the saying “the future is female” discuss everything from their careers to the importance of a platform like the Bolds. Woman Awards by Veuve Clicquot.

Affiong Williams
Unlike many entrepreneurs who start a business for the sole purpose of making a profit, the idea behind Affiong’s forward-thinking brand, ReelFruit, was to help solve the country’s youth unemployment problem, which l led her to book a one-way ticket to Nigeria.
Fueled by her passion, she embarked on a series of researches and discovered a gap in Nigerian agribusiness: the absence of dried fruits. Although there was an opportunity, the launch of ReelFruit was not just sunshine for Affiong. She underlines that it took 5 years for the brand to build a market and gain acceptance. Then, the brand had to deal with macroeconomic instability, which affected growth plans.

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Finally, finding funds was a major problem, as it took him 9 years to raise three million dollars for his expansion.
Despite all the obstacles, Affiong has managed to push ReelFruit forward in the Nigerian and international markets, building 700 stores nationwide and bringing one of the greatest innovations in agribusiness.
To add to that, Affiong says ReelFruit is going to introduce a major game changer to the food industry.
“ReelFruit will commission the largest dried fruit factory in December 2022, which will enable us to expand our product offering, launch unique products in the market, and sell our products to more customers within and outside of Nigeria.”

The story of Madame Clicquot is a source of inspiration for the CEO who evokes the resemblance between her and the legendary pioneer. “I resonate with Madame Clicquot who built her business during tumultuous times including wars and trade embargoes that affected her market. I liken building a business in Nigeria to being ‘at war’ – he there are so many variables to contend with as well as macro challenges beyond your control that you need to resolve. Like Madame Clicquot, I had to look at each challenge and work around it, to keep growing the business to its full potential »
Winning the Bold Woman award, according to Affiong, would be “recognition of my achievements and my drive to build a business that lasts in Nigeria.”

Ifedayo Durosinmi-Etti
One word that best describes this female entrepreneur is bold. This choice of words is largely due to her nature as a serial entrepreneur, which involves taking multiple risks to make an impact on society. Among the few projects developed by Ifedayo, the one that stands out is Herconomy, a financial resource service for women. Unaware of the fact that she had no background experience in banking, Ifedayo was able to bring her vision to life with the right team and the right mindset.

Interestingly, Ifedayo never considered herself an entrepreneur.
“I always thought I would work 9 to 5 and retire there, and to my surprise, after my MBA, I got 3 job offers, and one of them was with the company (a multinational) of my dreams, so there was no need for me to leave. But over time, I wanted to solve people’s problems and most of the problems that I found solutions revolved more around women. Some of my friends call me ‘fixer.’ I get things done, and if I can’t, I always know someone who knows someone who will make any problem that’s literally how I got into entrepreneurship…”
While being a serial entrepreneur has its perks, she, like any entrepreneur, has also faced a number of challenges, such as funding and talent. Her biggest challenge was finding a female CTO and workers to join her on her journey.

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Citing several personalities who inspired his entrepreneurial journey, Ifedayo was quick to mention Madame Clicquot. She explained how the daring matriarch managed to create a successful brand after the death of her husband. She further reveals that she created an acronym, RIBP, which aptly explains her similarity to Madame Clicquot: “The R stands for Resourceful, I-Innovative, B-Bold and P-Partnerships.”

Looking back, Ifedayo is proud of how the economic space has evolved to be more livable for women. “I’m thrilled to see more women working in fields that used to be male-dominated, from construction to technology to banking and more. The narrative changes. More women are considered. There are also more female VCs, and women are also coming up with creative ways to raise money for their businesses.
Everyone wants to be a winner, but Ifedayo is very passionate about it. “The Bold Woman Award salutes the work of fearless female business leaders and also challenges the status quo, calling for higher ethical standards and transformational practices. It will be an absolute honor to showcase not just me but my brand as one of the Nigerian companies leading the way.

Ifeoluwa Dare-Johnson
Every brand has a story, and that of Healthtracka, owned by Ifeoluwa, is hitting close to home. Ifeoluwa started researching non-communicable diseases in Africa after losing her father in 2019 to a disease that could have been detected earlier. It made him realize how millions of Nigerians go about their daily activities with no idea that they may have pre-existing health conditions.

In addition to discovering that late diagnosis is responsible for more than 24% of deaths in the country, she also discovered that affordability, access and convenience are factors that contribute to the apathetic attitude towards regular examinations. . Although she experimented with the idea of ​​Healthtracka, it wasn’t until the pandemic hit that she received a wake-up call and decided to create a digital platform that offers lab tests to residence.
One of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face is funding and Ifeoluwa agrees with that as she tells us how Healthtracka managed to secure funding. “It is difficult to raise funds, especially as a founder. At first, I was starting up and draining my savings to fund Healthtracka. As you can imagine, starting a tech business is an expensive business. I ran out of money after a while and had to look for other sources of funding. We were fortunate to have secured our first investment from First Check Africa, a women-focused venture capital firm that was just getting started at the time. They bet on us and wrote our first check for $25,000. Other investors also took this as a good sign and invested in us. “
Despite being a successful entrepreneur, Ifeoluwa faced discrimination from her male colleagues. “I remember at a fundraiser; I was asked by a potential male investor how I was going to handle running a business since I was a woman with a family. I thought it was weird because no one ever asks men that kind of question during a business meeting,” she recalls.

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The values ​​carried by Bold by Veuve Clicquot remain dear to Ifeoluwa, in particular the inspiring story of Madame Clicquot, a pioneer and visionary in the field of wine. She challenged the status quo and had the audacity to take risks. Ifeoluwa believes these are the same attributes that helped her to create a sub-category in the health sector and to be bold enough to risk losing her savings to pursue the ambitious vision of reversing the increase in non-communicable diseases in Africa.
Pulling back the curtain, she drops a few nuggets that live without rent in our heads. “I want to tell all the women you CAN. You CAN be a woman (with all the complexities that come with it) and be ambitious. You CAN reach the pinnacle of your career. You CAN do the seemingly hard things. You CAN create a global company “You CAN be a bold, unapologetic woman.”

Founded in Reims in 1772, the Maison Veuve Clicquot remains faithful to its motto: “one quality, the very first”. In 1805, Madame Clicquot took over the reins of the House and became one of the first businesswomen of modern times. Quickly named “the great lady of Champagne”, her visionary spirit and her innate sense of the French art of living continue today. Its iconic cuvée, Brut Carte Jaune, is synonymous with more than two centuries of know-how at the heart of an exceptional heritage. The color of the sun symbolizes the values ​​of audacity and optimism that the House has held for 250 years.
Please drink in moderation
To stay up to date on the winner, please follow Veuve Clicquot on all social media platforms.


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