The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs sat down with Comfort Sakoma to talk about the Poize Insider Network, entrepreneurship, and challenges thereof in Nigeria.

Fletcher Forum: Let us start by hearing what makes the Poize Insider Network different.

Comfort Sakoma: The Poize Insider Network (PIN) was launched in March 2016 to bridge the gap in entrepreneurial experience and expertise amongst women in Nigeria.

Many women don’t have business role models who have mastered entrepreneurship in their immediate circles. If their fathers were entrepreneurs, chances are that they were shielded from the “stress of business.” If their mothers were entrepreneurs, chances are that the business was run informally without any accounting or inventory systems, customer relations management systems, employee management systems, or technology. Entrepreneurship therefore becomes the thing you stumble upon in times of need or in times of means. In both case, attention to formality is a secondary consideration and so, real growth becomes unachievable. It is in view of this, that among women in Nigeria and across Africa, entrepreneurship as nation building tool, the role of research in innovation, and the urgency of structure for growth are all concepts that are understood but hardly ever invested in.

Many of our fastest growing women-owned businesses manage to earn enough revenue to survive, but due to a lack of foresight, market research, and finances struggle to make it past the startup phase. Others struggle to replicate their success for a lack of understanding about the factors that created an environment conducive for the success they have achieved to date. As such, after a great start, they find themselves  stagnating for years. This is why our tagline is “Entrepreneurship Beyond Survival.”

We are focusing all of our activities on augmenting the entrepreneurial know-how of women in Nigeria. Through this approach we are exposing them to new knowledge that helps in elevating their confidence to pursue and create new opportunities. Our program is designed to take the entrepreneur by the hand, reflect on where she came from, where she is, and in many cases, invigorate the passion for where she wants to be. Once that is decided, we work with her to chart a course that gets her closer to the ever progressing finish line.

 

To see the rest of this article, go to The Fletcher Forum.