Opportunities are not enough; we must also provide enabling environment for women – Lucy Chioma Aniagolu

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Opportunities are not enough; we must also provide enabling environment for women - Lucy Chioma Aniagolu
Lucy Chioma Aniagolu

Lucy Chioma Aniagolu is the founder of Agrodemy, a social enterprise startup that provides training, digital tools, and a resource marketplace for agribusiness. Her work at Agrodemy has earned her recognition and awards from the British American Tobacco Foundation, MTN Nigeria, Oxfam, the US Consulate in Lagos, The University of Nigeria, and the International Breweries PLC Foundation.

She has a Mini-MBA from the Tekedia Institute, 2020,She is a graduate of the US consulate Academy for Women entrepreneurs, and the Future Female Business school of the UK TECH Hub. She received the Farmers for Future awards in 2019, the Global Entrepreneurship Award of Lagos in 2019, was named one of the top 25 entrepreneurs in Nigeria by the Nigerian-Canada Investment summit, in 2019, and was nominated for the 25 under 25 Agriculture Awards in 2020. In 2022, she was announced as the top 10 finalists Ayute challenge By Heifer International, Top 20 agribusiness founder by the GAIN Agric innovation challenge, Winner Grooming endowment GET Accelerated Fund, and the Top 10 startup by Thought for Food (TFF) on Nutrition in Africa.

She is an Incubatee at the Oranger corners Program of the Government of the Netherlands. She is a Solo founder Under 25 and a faith-driven entrepreneur from Enugu Nigeria, whose hobbies are dancing, traveling, and photography.

In this interview with MSME Africa, she shares her thoughts on how women can be better enabled.

Can we meet you?

My name is Lucy Chioma Aniagolu

What inspired your entrepreneurial journey

The quest to solve my own problem. As an undergraduate, I had always wanted to own an agribusiness. I started a fish farm with a plastic bag alongside my high school boyfriend, but it didn’t grow. After that experience, I went to physical training after tirelessly asking people around, but on my way back I had an accident, which cost me my phone and notes containing all I recorded from the training alongside wounds in my leg. After that experience, I started looking for online means to access agricultural business education with localized content for Africa, which is a food-producing nation but couldn’t find one. My inability to find one began my journey to building Agrodemy as a means to digitize agribusiness education, training, and services for business setup.

Kindly share a high moment for you as an entrepreneur

My high moment as an entrepreneur was one of my meetings with a learner at a pitch competition and actually seeing the learner come first in the pitch competition in a bid to raise money for her agribusiness after learnings from Agrodemy

How have you been coping with the challenges of being a female entrepreneur in your space?

My coping mechanism is FAR; focus, absorb, and restrategize. I always try to focus on the output and impact my business is aiming at and that helps me to absorb all the challenges which then gives me the energy and restrategize my way out of the challenges or even cope with them as the case might be

The focus of this year’s International Women’s Day is to get the world talking about ‘Why equal opportunities aren’t enough.” What do you have to contribute to this?

Women cannot be as equal to men. As much as we talk about it, especially due to biological factors, giving them opportunities is not the only way out; also necessary is providing an enabling environment for them to thrive in the opportunity provided. I have seen great opportunities for women without an enabling environment, and if we must support the girl child, we have to prioritize providing them with an enabling environment for growth and access.

What do you hope to see improve in the MSME ecosystem in the next 5 years in Nigeria?

I hope to see a lot of improvement in technology adoption and more automation in the regulation process so that more investors can support the MSMEs.

I also hope to see a lot of enablers making access to funds and talent easier for all genders running MSME in Nigeria and Africa at large.

Your final words to everyone reading this and hoping to start something like this.

The world needs food, yet we lose so much of the food currently produced due to post-harvest losses. The agricultural sector needs more value-added businesses, and with Agrodemy, the setup process of set-up is now easy.

Embrace agriculture and keep the energy because the journey of entrepreneurship needs a lot of grit to succeed. I wish you success on your agricultural entrepreneurial journey.

 

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