The International Trade Centre (ITC) today launched the Nigeria chapter of SheTrades in the Commonwealth to deliver greater economic returns for Nigerian women entrepreneurs.

A dedicated project of ITC’s global SheTrades initiative, the SheTrades in the Commonwealth Nigeria project aims to drive increased trade, productivity and competitiveness for women entrepreneurs and women-owned companies to ensure that they play an active role in international trade. Through intensive training and mentoring activities, the goal is to strengthen the capacities of 3,000 women-owned businesses with a view to generate sales worth £28 million ($38m) by 2020.

Officially launched in April and funded by United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), SheTrades in the Commonwealth was endorsed by UK Prime Minister Theresa May during the opening of the Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) in London.

SheTrades in the Commonwealth – Nigeria will address challenges faced by women entrepreneurs, including access to and control over land, cumbersome business and financial institutional processes amongst other entrepreneurial challenges.

‘SheTrades in the Commonwealth will ensure that women entrepreneurs in Nigeria receive support tailored to their specific needs allowing them to propel their existing market representation and secure greater access to global trade,’ said Nicholas Schlaepfer, Senior Programme Officer at ITC’s Women and Trade Programme.

The SheTrades in the Commonwealth project will provide governments with better tools and information to implement gender-responsive policies and share best practices. Over a two-year period, ITC will initially work to increase the competitiveness of women entrepreneurs in the agriculture, apparel and services sectors in four Commonwealth focus countries: Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria.