Women Must Be Financially Independent
By my personal observation, the rate at which women are venturing into businesses is on the increase. A few weeks ago, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Pastor Umo Eno, doled out some financial supports to many micro business holders. It was an intermittent but deliberate undertaking by the Governor, signaling his intention to ensure the private sector, particularly micro businesses are included in the new administration’s programmes for growth and development of private enterprises.
This sporadic supports have also aroused the consciousness of small business operators that the new administration was interested in supporting hardwork.
Almost all the beneficiaries of the governor’s largesse are women so far, especially vegetable sellers, traders and people roasting corns and pears – the much neglected level. Women, therefore seem to be taking the lead. Then I began to wonder, ‘What is the driving force? Why don’t women stay at home as housewives anymore? Are their husbands not taking care of their responsibilities anymore?’
In search for answers to the above, I reached out to a vibrant woman in business, the CEO of Decorum Blessed Ventures, Mrs. Emaekop Idongesit Umoh, who has been in business for 15years now. She is a strong believer in the notion that women should be independent financially. According to her, “Being independent doesn’t mean you don’t ask your husband for supports anymore. But there are certain things you do or you feel some privacy within yourself, without disturbing your husband or a second party.” Financial independence, she avers, is why she wants women to venture into business.
Before graduating from the university, knowing how difficult it was to secure a white collar job, she thought within herself: ‘How will I start something, instead of staying without a job?’
While still in school Mrs Emaekop Umoh started baking and selling queen’s cake, and with God on her side, she has grown to be one of the Akwa Ibom women in business that are doing well. Today, she runs a successful event management outfit.
The Decorum CEO pointed out that 70% of problems in the home revolve around finance. If the man of the house is bringing in his own quota and the woman is also supporting, there will be no fight in the home. She said that God’s deposit in women is so great, and that is why they can take care of the home, care for the man, manage the resources that are given to her for the home, take care of the children and lots more.” That’s why if I put in all that God has deposited in me, even in business, I will do well”.
Umoh challenged the womenfolk to rise up against excuses, stressing that it is not an excuses for any woman to say, “I am not good in business is no excuse for joblessness. “According to her, women should get themselves developed, they should pray and ask God for direction. She encouraged women to venture into business of their passion. Explaining why women should follow their passion, she said: “I can stay three days and nights working without being weak, because I love my business and because of the passion that took me there in the first place.”
Aside from providing her clientele with event management services, she also conduct training programmes for women in various skill areas, and use the opportunity to encourage women not to overly depend on their husbands but start business to support their spouses. The entrepreneur says she has taken it upon herself to talk to women who still sits at home, waiting for their husband’s to provide their every need. Through her training programme, she gets the women closer so they can see and learn how she operates.
She wondered why some women would “be contended with peanuts handed them by their husbands for family upkeep, knowing how tough the economy is. Although lack of capital has been the drawback of many women who want to go into business, she counselled them not to wait for much capital but start with as small as they could gather. She explained that a woman can start a business with as low as 20,000 naira, depending on her plan. But observed regrettably that laziness, and not lack of capital, is the bane of many people. She chided women who pressure their spouses into debt, whereas they should start a business to support the home front.
She charged the women to, “Stand up, wake up from your slumber, stand out and do something, so that even in your husband’s family, you will be dignified and respected. I am respected in my husband’s family because I have been able to support the home front.”
Decorum was thankful to God that the Governor of Akwa Ibom State is an entrepreneur, she believes that the new government would favour businesses. She, however, advised the government against giving indiscriminate loans to people but take inventory of who is actually in business and support them. “Previous government has been giving out loans to assist businesses but in most cases, those loans get to the wrong hands which never paid back,” she observed. She believes the Governor would systematically identify the real entrepreneurs in other to assist them with loans.