Empowering Women For a Better Future: Meet Nkem Okocha, Who is Empowering poor rural and urban women with free vocational skills and mobile Loans.

 

 

 

 

What does your company do?

Mamamoni is a Social Enterprise that empowers poor rural and urban slum women with free vocational skills and Mobile Loans, helping them to become financially included in society, to increase their household incomes, to up skill them in their micro-businesses, and to educate their children. We provide mobile micro credit to low income rural and urban slum women. We make them banked using mobile technology, we train them on different vocational skills and empower them with our innovative Business Toolkit for low-income women. We have impacted and empowered women in different communities with skills and tools to help them to succeed in their businesses.

“Mamamoni is a Social Enterprise that empowers poor rural and urban slum women with free vocational skills and Mobile Loans, helping them to become financially included in society, to increase their household incomes, to upskill them in their micro-businesses, and to educate their children.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What inspired you to start your company?

I started Mamamoni due to the experience I had as a child – we lost our father, and my mother was a full-time housewife, with no livelihood skill and no finance to start a business. Feeding and education was a big challenge, and I had to hawk shampoo in major markets in Lagos Nigeria and later became a house help. Later in life, after resigning from my banking job after 8 years and started running my small business, I discovered we had a lot of idle women in my community and other communities I visited. I found that they had no livelihood skills and they had no money to start businesses, and as a result, they remained poor and unable to afford to feed or educate their children. In 2013 I started empowering women from different backgrounds on a range of vocational skills to help them start their own business and in 2014 we started the financial loans part of our business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why should anyone use your service or product?

Our service is focused on low-income women from rural areas and urban slums who are not in an economic position to secure funding from traditional financial institutions because of certain barriers like collateral, transaction history, means of identification etc. They use our service because we teach them skills that can enable them to start a business – also they are taught how to manage their small businesses using our Business Toolkit for low-income women and easy access to securing a Mobile Loan.

“We have impacted and empowered women in different communities with skills and tools to help them to succeed in their businesses.”

Tell us a little about your team

As the founder, I am in charge of managing the major activities of Mamamoni. I have 8 years experience in the banking sector and 5 in the Mobile Money space, I have a lot of experience working with low-income women. I am also a trained vocational skills facilitator. We have 5 experienced vocational skills trainers on different handcrafts. We have field officers that go check on these women to ensure that they are doing well and paying back our loans. We have a board of advisors with over 25 years in the Financial Sector.

 

Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?

I have 8 years banking experience in operations and marketing. I am so passionate about entrepreneurship, so while working in the corporate world, I had a business where I soldmotivational, christian and inspirational books, I also had a novel club where people used to come and rent novels for a fee. After resigning from my job I knew I wanted to positively impact the lives of other women, due to my own personal experience and the level of poverty in my community – these factors led to the founding of Mamamoni.

“Our service is focused on low-income women from rural areas and urban slums who are not in an economic position to secure funding from traditional financial institutions because of certain barriers like collateral, transaction history, means of identification etc.”

 

What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?

Our main objective is to empower and provide access to finance for women who are not in an economic position to secure funding from traditional financial institutions because of certain barriers like collateral, transaction history, and also to drive innovation through leveraging mobile and web technology. We hope to reach more women in all the states in Nigeria.

What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?

I get satisfaction when I see the transformation in the lives of the women we have empowered. Due to our interventions, they now have skills to help them generate income to feed their family, educate their children, etc. Also, they now have easy access to capital to start a business.

“After resigning from my job I knew I wanted to positively impact the lives of other women, due to my own personal experience and the level of poverty in my community – these factors led to the founding of Mamamoni.”

 

 

 

 

 

What’s the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?

I will advise them to start with what they have (skills, expertises, gifts, goodwill, social capital, etc) and not to wait until they have secured millions to start-up. Let their venture not be for profit only, let it have Social Impact in their communities.

Be focused, persistent, disciplined, diligent and hard-working.

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