By Dipo Olowookere Over 500 female entrepreneurs from across the country have undergone training programmes aimed to scale up their skills on how to leverage digital platforms to drive growth in their businesses. The initiative, which kicked off last month, has held in Abuja, Lagos, Enugu and Ibadan with over 500 female business owners in attendance. It was put together by Access Bank in partnership with She Leads Africa under the Facebook Program called #SheMeansBusiness. The second phase of the Access Bank, Facebook and She Leads Africa training will continue in Abeokuta on Wednesday, July 17, Jos, July 23, and Benin, July 26, 2019. Addressing newsmen in Abuja during the start of the training series, Executive Director, Retail banking, Access Bank Plc, Victor Etuokwu, said \u201cAs one of the fastest growing retail banks in the country, Access Bank is always at the forefront of leveraging technology to drive emerging businesses. \u201cThe idea behind this partnership and empowerment programme is to give our SME customers an opportunity to expand their access to market and increase their visibility to potential customers. \u201cThere are over two billion people on Facebook globally and over 65 billion WhatsApp messages exchanged globally on a daily basis. With the right knowledge, our customers can showcase their products to large audiences as well as get leads that will take their businesses forward.\u201d Etuokwu further said \u201cWe intend to actualise our promise as the largest retail bank in Africa to provide not just financial services but also non-financial services which we provide knowing that when our customers succeed it will trickle down to us.\u201d During an interview with Chigozie Onyeocha, the Regional and Sales Director of Lagos Mainland at Access Bank, it was learnt that the bank has strong interest in Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). According to Onyeocha, Access Bank believes that if SMEs are well supported, the country's economy will benefit in return. "We have millions of SME businesses in Nigeria in this category, employing over 60 million Nigerians presently, for us, we believe if we support the SME sector right, we will have a better economy." He further disclosed that the programme was initiated because of the bank's belief that women are better managers. "Women are better managers, and if we engage them well and provide them with the necessary materials and opportunities to grow their businesses, it will help our mission, which is to boost the nation's economy." "We actually have a division in the bank that caters to women, and we have opportunities that we expose our female customers to. We have loan facilities for women at a low-interest rate, encouraging them to do their businesses right. Our goal is to have more empowered women which we believe will deliver a better economy," Onyeocha concluded. She Leads Africa's Digital Marketing Trainer, Adeyemi Adedayo, said the programme is specifically designed for women to upscale and boost their businesses, and focuses on how to use Facebook\u2019s family apps, including Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. Adedayo stressed that feedback from the business owners engaged so far has been tremendous. "We have since recorded remarkable growth in engaging these women and the results derived from these engagements have been very remarkable. The women have responded well so far, and it is encouraging for the trainers," he said. While Adedayo stated the initiative has birthed futuristic businesses that will thrive the economy, he lauded Access Bank Plc for keying into the objective of Facebook's human empowerment. "Access Bank has been great in this collective responsibility with She Leads Africa and Facebook to empower in order to have a robust economy." One of the participants, Bolanle Alabi, CEO, Easy Flight Travels in Lagos, said, \u201cI have learnt how to market products online by locating my audience and giving them direct information. Sometimes when you go on Facebook, you do not give the specific details to be able to attract the required audience, I have learnt how to restructure and how to create the right profile.\u201d To register and know more about the Diamond Business account, please click HERE.