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The CBN South-South Entrepreneurship Development Centre (CBN SSEDC) recently joined other world leaders globally to mark this year international women's day. The weeklong event tagged "Enterprising Woman; Raising the Bar", featured women from Government, Manufacturing and production, Creative Industry, Tourism and Hospitality, and civil societies.

The women who participated in the event were united with one thing - women contribute to social, economic, cultural and political achievement – and as such individuals pledges should move from talk to purposeful action. With men and women joining forces to collectively help women advance equal to their numbers and realize the limitless potential they offer economies the world over.

The celebration started with a 4 days radio program on HIT FM Calabar featuring enterprising women from different sectors of the economy and ended with a women conference at Obudu Hall of CBN SSEDC. Ms Blessing Akpan kicked off the conference by explaining that the event was put together to highlight value of entrepreneurship to women and to equally inspire women to come out of their shell and grasp the opportunity of building a great enterprise. She went on to describe a woman as Strength, Pillar, Love; whereas, others described a woman as Courageous, Companions, Builder, Comforter, Patience, Life, Organizer, Multiplier, Beauty, Influencer, and simply More, as the essence of a woman keeps unfolding in the face of various situations. The guest were then thrilled by a musical performance by Jolly J, titled "My mother is a woman".

Giving the opening address, the CBN SSEDC Manager, Mr. Emeka Nnamani stated that SSEDC is strategically focused more in helping women strengthen their business structures which is reflected in the organization engagement model.

The Cross River State manager of GEMS3, Mrs. Geraldine Oku within an interactive session, informed the audience that money is not the main hindrance to entrepreneurship but lack of knowledge. She showed how women could raise the bar in their different endeavours, by understanding their value/talent, seeking out knowledge, and improving on their skill. Mrs. Oku concluded by telling the guests that the greatest obstacle in achieving an aim is "self" which includes self-criticism and self-fear and she advised women to be self-decisive and always remain positive in both thinking and in actions.

Goodwill messages were received from the Director General of MEDA and the SSA MEDA who enshrined the need for the right attitude and networking for development. The commissioner for women affairs ably represented by Mrs Funmi Njar spoke on government's perspective, the enterprising woman, raising the bar. She stated the love and concern she has for women and advised women to remain strong and vibrant in entrepreneurship.
Our event partners, CUSO Int'l informed the public about their objectives and successes with the YouLEad program, which promotes gender parity, within the natural resource area of entrepreneurship. They also presented a panel discussions, with successful beneficiaries of the YouLead Project.

The event ended on a high note, after the 2nd panel discussion, which had as its discussants top female entrepreneurs from the several sectors. They posited that women needed to stop accepting or giving excuses as to why they can't succeed, but with good time management and organizational skills, they can successfully and effectively combine the home and work front. Panelists included, Christabel Nduibuisi of Bella Water, Pastor Idara Anko, Mimi Phillips of Mimi Couture, Mrs. Ita of Lovita Creations.

Closing remarks were given by Mrs. Ola Ekeinde of Turning Point Bridals Event, who encouraged women to stand for each other, supporting and building each other to greater heights.


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