Nigerian women are going beyond stereotype towards economic independence to build wealth for themselves as well as contribute to the nation’s economic growth. ENE OSANG writes in this report as she brings two women entrepreneurs: Farida Yahya and Hauwa Tukur’s effort to help women meet 2019 investment goals.
The Tomie Balogun’s Investment Clubs, a sit-out series convened by two female entrepreneurs Farida Yahya and Hauwa Tukur, featured discussions on how women can smash 2019 investment goals.
To address fears by women to own businesses or take investments risks Farida Yahya made case for women entrepreneurs to be part of group investments, noting several benefits and chances of quick growth.
According to Farida, group investments helps reduce risk and provides opportunity to understand the market and how money works as well as helps group members grow faster.
“If you want to build a house or have another house you may begin to save towards that in 10 years but in a group you can achieve that in two years,” she said.
Merits of investment club
The co-convener explained that the ‘club’ was organised because a lot of women don’t know about money, noting that not many women building wealth, not only because they don’t know how but also to due to the huge responsibility of home making.
Farida, who said that the assertion is enforced by the number of millionaires around the world who are males compared to their female counterparts hence the discussion affords women opportunity to improve their status and compete favourably.
“Women don’t know about money and how to build wealth and of course it is because a lot of them are home makers and they have a lot of burden on them.
“You can see a lot of millionaires all over the world but only a few women are included, we are trying to change that by getting more women to work together because there is a saying that if you want to go far, go alone but if you want to go farther go with others,” she stated.
Speaking in the same vein the co-convener of the series Hauwa, a long time entrepreneur, said there are interesting things to share with women and it’s time for women to explore various investment opportunities hence the focus around the book on investment clubs.
“We brought together women from different fields of life, professions, and businesses, to explore what investment means to them and also to explore their visions and dreams and what their money can do for them.
Seeking economic solutions
Farida said that even in the prevailing harsh economic situation there are lots of opportunities for women to take advantage and become winners.
She charged them to be more proactive and think outside the box and work towards their dreams, adding that for this to be achieved the mindsets of many women have to change.
“I have realised that it is very difficult to imagine a reality that you haven’t seen, so I am getting people around me, particularly women, to look at progressive and positive thinking and how they can attract what they want into their lives.
“The mind is very powerful I really want to see if we can change the mindset for instance it’s been said: money is the root of all evil but we are changing that to say: money is an important value and it only depends on how you use it to impact the society.”
She said the need for comprehensive money education was why they opted for growing together by bringing women from different fields to share ideas.
While stressing that the discussion series would enable women to be better informed and reach out to more women, she said, “I’m hoping we would build a business structure after this discussion, we bringing in more business owners especially in this 2019. Money is always an issue for women, we are trying to look at their cash flow and teach them the basics of business.
“A lot of women are into reactive businesses but we trying to help them through that process and then make them investors. The tides are changing, there are few women investors like Mrs. Awoshika, Tomi Balogun and some others, and in the next decade we would have a lot of female millionaires.”
For Amal, even though there are challenges, most women have one or two assets they can put to use and make money.
“What we don’t understand is that we may have a little savings that we are keeping or some jewellery we have saved money to buy and we you hold unto them thinking that is your investment. However, there is a difference because if that item is sitting with you and not put to work to grow more wealth for you it loses value over time.
“Women should take a chance to convert the little assets they have, be it gold or money, into something that can produce wealth. There are economic challenges but if we look within us and start something small, with commitment and patience, it will yield desired results.”
Hauwa, who acknowledged the benefit of the older form of saving by women, asusu and other means of saving money, urged all to stop the believe that the ideal thing is after school you get a job and continue living.
According to her, “That is good but with today’s standard of living it is important to know that in order to have money we must make money work for us and not we working for the money.
“Again, women are becoming more exposed to businesses and they own them too but the money they make from such businesses are not been put to adequate use. It is not about just about buying and selling, women must begin to channel their monies to achieve more.
“Northern women who are now enlightened should take it as a responsibility to do advocacy on the importance of investment so others who do not have the opportunity can learn. We have a duty to make women see opportunities where they never taught exists.”
Hauwa shared her success story, noting how she put her assets into use and made more money to grow other businesses, stressing that if she had left them as they were, the assets wouldn’t have yielded as much as it did today.
“I studied Computer Science but I have always had entrepreneurial spirit. I had some jewellery that was given to me and instead of holding unto that asset, I converted it to cash to start my first business and gradually from that little business I began to grow.
“I started with making wedding souvenirs and after a while I started making profits then I moved into ice cream business and afterwards into fashion. Business is difficult and not everyone has the flair and that is where investment clubs come in.
“I might not have the tenacity to handle business but I might have some money I want to yield for me, I can join a group and find people who have good business ideas but no access to funds. I can then join my money with that of others and we have a pool of money and support the existing business and everyone benefits from the returns,” she said.
One of the participants, an Investment Analyst, Mariam Shehu Mohammed, lauded the idea of investment clubs, and called for more advocacy to enlighten more women.
Mariam emphasised the importance for women to have financial freedom, saying there are lots of opportunities in Nigeria and as a developing country women can contribute to take country to greater heights.
“The more women learn about these things the more we put our skills into use in the society and the more we can make economic growth in the society,” she said.
According to her, “I started the journey into investment opportunities in 2013 when I signed up to take an examination to qualify as Chartered Financial Analyst. Before then I never heard what those mutual terms were and those terminologies sounded like Greek but it is very interesting and empowering.
“I went through 2013 till date into investment as a senior analyst and this has been rewarding for me as a person and for people I help. We all need this, I am creating awareness on this with my brand; Miss Poised and we always hold workshops for women to let them know it’s not rocket science but a very interesting means of getting financial knowledge and freedom.
“I’m a core northerner from Kano state and my target is to enlighten more northern women to channel their skills to more economic opportunities. Women should know that they can overcome the fear they have, seek more knowledge, it is not enough to sit at home and say you are into a business, you need to know the risk and terms in every investment you embark on.”
For another participant, a Programmes Secretary, Adaeze Chiaka, who said she learnt about the program on Instagram after seeing Tomei Balogun’s book on investment clubs, state it enlightened her on ‘the power of many and what can be achieved together.’
She said, “For instance if I have to save N10,000 every month I can only save N120,000 in a year but if I have five to ten friends who could also save N120,000 yearly we will have more money to invest in business and achieve a lot in a short period of time. Also, we can share risk together instead of investing alone and bearing the entire burden alone.
“I had always liked working with others to achieve more and investment clubs is a good opportunity instead of having a personal journey and being alone in it. It is also good to have a second or third opinion when doing something and this will enable every member to share their knowledge on a particular idea because something may look good to you but when another person points out the challenges or default in that particular idea it can give you insights into areas you never considered.
“Since 2017 when I joined investment clubs, I have benefited a lot in terms of information like it is said: knowledge is power. I started an investment club and became more aware of opportunities.
“Some investments would have taken me a long time if I was doing it alone but as I’m doing that with members of my club it has shortened the time, motivated me the more, and made me more accountable because you must play your part in the club as there are no rooms for excuses.”
Why more women should invest
Chiaka advised women to dream big stating that when they do so they would be required to do bigger things like moving out from their comfort zone, and network with like minds to achieve their dreams.
“In some organisations we have cooperative savings but I think that restricts people because they only save without going a step further to put that money to use. In investment clubs it is beyond saving money, you look out for ways of making the money work for you,” she stated.