Ilé obirin, the house of women entrepreneurs of Benin, a non-profit association was officially presented to the media on Tuesday 26 July. This was an opportunity for the initiators to launch the adhesion of new members at the headquarters of the organisation in Agla in Cotonou.
Women now run one third of all businesses in the formal economy worldwide. However, the majority of those operating in developing economies are in very small or medium-sized enterprises with limited growth potential. Beyond the under-representation of women in companies of all sizes, the larger the company, the less likely it is to be headed by a woman. Faced with these inequalities and in response to the isolation and lack of understanding of women entrepreneurs and the various challenges they constantly face, Ms Neuly Abiala set up an organisation called Ilé obirin, the house of women entrepreneurs.
Presentation of ilé obirin, the house for women entrepreneurs
It is in fact a group of active women entrepreneurs, both beginners and experts, self-employed, business owners, employees, retirees, housewives from urban and rural areas working from home. Ilé obirin is also a “power place” that brings together women entrepreneurs and helps them develop their business and their entrepreneurial spirit.
The association also aims to be an incubator or a professional women’s network bringing together all women entrepreneurs, not only from Benin but also from Africa. The aim is to put them in touch with each other, to help them gain visibility and to contribute to their development through exchange and mutual support. “Without networking, business is doomed to failure,” insists Neuly Abiala. To achieve this, the House of the Entrepreneur offers three different programmes to its members. These are the Fulfilment programme, the Empowerment programme and the Light on ”L” programme.
Light on the three programmes of ilé obirin
The blossoming programme aims to balance the personal life of the woman entrepreneur. Indeed, social attitudes and norms prevent some women from even considering starting a business. While systemic barriers mean that many of those who do start up remain confined to very small businesses operating in the informal economy. This situation not only limits their ability to earn an income for themselves and their families, but also restricts their real potential to contribute to socio-economic development and job creation. Hence the importance of the ilé obirin blossoming programme, which provides peace, serenity and harmony to women entrepreneurs so that they can be creative. Because, according to the president, what African entrepreneurship lacks today is innovation and creativity. It should be noted that this programme essentially aims to harmoniously balance all aspects of the life of the woman entrepreneur, namely private, marital, family and social life.
In addition, the Empowerment programmeseeks to shape the minds of its members to go further in entrepreneurship. However, these women benefit from the support of specialist coaches. “Life coaches, personal development coaches, business coaches, etc. are available to help you assert yourself and face the challenges you face on a daily basis,” reassures Ms. Neuly Abiala. Moreover, unlike any other type of support that currently exists in Benin, Ilé Obirin’s empowerment programme works on a case-by-case basis. It is in fact a personalised accompaniment that is offered to women entrepreneurs. To this end, after an incursion by the experts into the companies concerned, they detect the needs in terms of reinforcement and draw up a consequent support programme, according to the challenges to be met.
As for the Light on”L” programme, it zooms in the various activities of the association’s women entrepreneurs and offers some visibility.
How to join the Ilé obirin association?
To become a member of Ilé obirin, the very first condition is to be a woman entrepreneur. “Whether you are in the food industry, textiles, cosmetics, printing, technology or others, you can join us, no matter what your activity is,” said the brand promoter, Mrs. Neuly Abiala.
It should be noted that the House of Women Entrepreneurs does not exclude foreign memberships. It also opens its doors to all women in Africa. You can be in Togo, Mali, Burkina, Congo… and be part of the network. At Ilé obirin, you have training sessions to boost your entrepreneurial capacity. You have opportunities to participate in conferences and trade fairs to meet strategic partners for your business. Your financial problems are also dealt with within the network to ensure stability and self-balance.
To join, you just need to go to the platform www.ileobirin.com to fill in the membership form. You will find the energy and the network to feel inspired, motivated and surrounded as well as all the resources you need to grow and develop your business.