Federation of Women Entrepreneur Associations (FEWA) in collaboration with FEMCOM Secretariat hosted the business talks on 19th June 2018. FEWA is an outfit that lobbies and advocates for Women Entrepreneur Associations (WEAs) with the objectives of influencing policy formulation, disseminating information to help women overcome gender challenges and succeed in their various business fields.
FEWA has maintained a membership with over 250,000 individual business women active in all aspects of enterprise including, but not limited to trade, services, agribusiness, building and construction, art and craft, manufacturing, research, development and engineering.
The welcoming remarks were delivered by Ms Rita Ndonye, a member of the Board of FEWA, followed by the sponsor of the event, FEMCOM, through its Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Katherine Ichoya. The latter hailed FEWA for convening the talks, noting that this was a clear indication of how professional the organization was and focused they were on enhancing the creation of sustainable women-owned and run businesses.
In her remarks, Mrs. Ichoya narrated the journey that FEMCOM had travelled from its inception in July 1993 to where it is today. She recalled that it was founded with the endorsement of the Authority (made up of Heads of States and Governments of the COMESA member states) .FEMCOM’s mandate is drawn from Article 155 of the COMESA Treaty and the FEMCOM Charter. The treaty mandates the organisation to “act as a forum for the exchange of ideas and experience among women entrepreneurs; an instrument through which the appropriate portion of COMESA Women in Development Programmes shall be implemented; a forum for network among women entrepreneurs and an instrument for encouraging women to set up or expand existing enterprises.”
FEWA is one of the 19 constituent chapters of FEMCOM, across the COMESA member states.
She stated that there was ample justification for advancing the development of women-run businesses. Among the reason she floated were that most women in rural Africa work in the informal sector, and in most situations with very little pay as compared to their male counterparts. That these enterprises were ran on a small scale with little prospects for expansion.
Additionally, most women engaged in entrepreneurial activities lack the requisite business planning, marketing and management skills to enable them become champions of their realms of business ventures. Access to financial services remains a challenge, Mrs. Ichoya said. This is because in most cultures, ownership of property and land favoured men.
The talks were on the following topics: The Ecosystem, Business risk, Finance and Performance Management Systems.