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    IWD: Schneider Electric Pledges Continued Support to Finalists at NDES Female Start-ups Tourney

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    Peters, Lagos Correspondenthttp://Naija247news.com
    Anene Peters is an intern with Naija247news Media. He's focus is on tech and science. He's a graduate of Abia State University with a major in Computer Science and Communications. You can contact him for press events on 0903 927 6505

    by peters A.okafor

    The six winning female Start-up Founders at the just-concluded Nigeria Digital
    Economy Summit (NDES) Accelerator Programme held in collaboration with
    Foresight Seeds Fund, a part of The Foresight Group, will receive some sponsorship
    and continued mentorship from Schneider Electric, Foresight Seeds Fund and other
    partners for the next twelve months to enable them evolve into successful businesses.

    Sub-Saharan Africa’s General Manager for Schneider Electric Process Automation,
    Mr Ajibola Akindele, announced this at the finals of the selection process which was
    held virtually on the 8th of March 2021 to mark the International Women’s Day
    (IWD).

    From across the country, 474 promising Start-ups applied and at the end of the
    screening phase, only 10 finalists were selected to proceed into the last qualification
    phase for the Accelerator Program. The 10 finalists interfaced with the panel of judges
    who in turn assessed their technical abilities, critical thinking and soft skills after they
    pitched their innovative ideas.

    The closely fought competition eventually produced six winning female tech Start-up
    Founders who would go into the Accelerator Programme.

    According to Akindele, one of the panel of judges, “six of these last standing
    techpreneurs will be enrolled in the Accelerator Programme and shall receive cash
    rewards; they will also be supported with coaching and mentoring by Foresight Seeds
    Fund and Schneider Electric.

    The first winner got N2 million; the second and third winners got N1 million apiece;
    while the fourth, fifth and sixth winners got N500 thousand each. There was a tie
    between two of the finalists which resulted in 6 female Start-up Founders as joint
    runner-up winners, as against the projected five. Consequently, an additional N500
    thousand was added to accommodate the sixth winner.

    Akindele confirmed that Schneider Electric will continue to support and sponsor the
    NDES Accelerator Programme, just as the objectives of NDES fit into Schneider
    Electric’s sustainability mandate.

    According to him, “Schneider Electric is very big on female empowerment and we
    have a global initiative called “He 4 She” where, even the men in the organisation are
    also committed to ensuring gender balance across the organisation”.

    He further added, “Gender balance is one of our KPIs when it comes to Schneider
    Electric’s sustainability index and there are key goals we have set for ourselves.

    “By 2025, 50 per cent of those that will be hired are going to be female, 40 per cent of
    front-liners are going to be females too. Also, 40 per cent of frontline managers will
    be female by 2025; while 30 per cent of senior leadership will be female by 2025.

    “For some of these, Schneider Electric has already exceeded its targets. We have also
    implemented global pay equality framework, as well as global family leave. All these
    are intended to ensure women recognition and to promote women in technology.

    “Based on the theme for the IWD, the young female entrepreneurs on the NDES
    Accelerator Programme have chosen to challenge the stereotypes, to challenge gender
    bias and inequality, and are really doing wonderful things in an area that is dominated
    by men”, Akindele noted.

    He also commended the top 10 finalists saying they are all winners in their own
    rights. “I am very confident that all the participants would go a long way in shaping
    the future, bringing in new ideas and will continue to inspire more women to
    participate in technology in the future”

    In the closing remarks of Founder & CEO of The Foresight Group, Mr Lanre
    Osibona, whose company curated the Accelerator Program, “we’re making the Fourth
    Industrial Revolution Africa’s revolution towards economic growth and inclusive
    prosperity”. He stated “this is why we believe it is our duty to ensure more than 50%
    of the population made up of females are actively involved in the economic
    development of our nation and continent.

    Other sponsors at the event include Bank of Industry, Nigerian Export Promotion
    Council (NEPC) and Taj bank.

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