Webinar 41: Invest in Women: Empowering Women through Learning and Development

March 22, 2024

As the world continues to celebrate women following International Women's Day, we invite you to join the discussion "Invest in Women: Empowering Women through Learning and Development", which will emphasize the importance of continuous learning and development for women's leadership. The webinar will highlight the contributions of women leaders across various fields and encourage mentorship, skill-building, and knowledge-sharing. Additionally, it will emphasize that building strong communities is essential for accelerating progress toward women's empowerment. By fostering networks of support and collaboration, we can create spaces where women can learn from one another, share their experiences, and collectively drive positive change. Investing in women means investing in the growth and development of entire communities. 

Specifically, this session will focus on:

  • The importance of platforms such as business membership organizations (BMOs) and associations as a way of accelerating women’s growth. We will also look at the benefits of belonging to certain groups.
  • Challenges and opportunities facing women in various industries and sectors, focusing on topics such as leadership development, career advancement, and gender equality.
  • Best practices and impact stories from women leaders and experts, overviewing strategies for overcoming obstacles, fostering inclusive work environments, and driving positive change within organizations.
  • Female-led entrepreneurs' leadership skills, communication abilities, and confidence that help women succeed in their careers.
  • Networking opportunities for female-led entrepreneurs, mentors, and potential collaborators, fostering valuable relationships and support networks that can further their professional growth and development


NnekaNneka Okekearu is the Director and Head of Gender at the Enterprise Development Centre of the Pan-Atlantic University. She is an IFC-certified master trainer, an IFC-LPI TPMA assessor, and a leading expert in enterprise development with over 20 years of experience in entrepreneurship, gender, economic inclusion, and leadership. Nneka is passionate about creating pathways for the catalytic improvement of entrepreneurs through sustainable and innovative solutions that promote inclusive business development and generate decent employment opportunities for all. She is a chair of the Learning and Development Africa conference, a network that seeks to harness knowledge from emerging trends to provide impactful learning and development solutions in Africa. She also sits on the West Africa Steering Committee of the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs.  

Enterprise Development Centre of the Pan-Atlantic University (EDC of PAU)


EDC of PAU is a leading enterprise development center in Nigeria. Established in January 2003, EDC is a unit of the Pan-Atlantic University that provides a holistic approach largely to small and growing businesses and more recently to students, fostering an entrepreneurship mindset across the university community. As one of the Centre's visions to promote entrepreneurship in Nigeria, every year, during the International Women's Day celebration, EDC joins the rest of the world to inspire and celebrate women through various events.




OreoluwaOreoluwa Lesi is a STEM & gender specialist with 20+ years of professional experience. She is the founder and executive director of the Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC), a Nigerian nonprofit organization committed to building a more inclusive technology ecosystem, with the next generation of women technology creators, entrepreneurs, and leaders.

Since 2008, W.TEC has encouraged over 47,000 girls and women across Nigeria, to pursue STEM careers and supported women to use technology confidently to increase their economic power and ability to speak about issues affecting their lives.

Oreoluwa’s work has often been showcased in the media, including BBC Africa, TIME Magazine, Channels TV, NTA, and EbonyLife TV. Oreoluwa has been recognized as OkayAfrica 100 Women for 2020, One of the 5 Women Who Defined the Nigerian Tech Space in 2019 by Technext.ng, the Her Network Technology Woman of the Year 2018 award, and as one of Leading Ladies Africa’s 2018 100 Most Inspiring Women in Nigeria.

Oreoluwa is a Vital Voices Lead Fellow (awarded to emerging and established women leaders across the world), Ashoka Fellow (a network of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs), and a recipient of the Anita Borg Change Agent Award (for her commitment to supporting women in computing in Nigeria). Oreoluwa serves on the board of the Lagos State Science Research and Innovation Council (LASRIC) and until recently, on the advisory board of BudgIT.


FunmilayoFunmilayo Arowoogun is the national president of NECA’s Network of Entrepreneurial Women. She is the managing director of Dew Farms and Foods Integrated Ltd. and the chairman of the DEW Microfinance Bank Ltd.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science/physics and a master’s degree in condensed matter physics from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta. She sits on the board of some organizations which include NECA and Chremon Ltd.

Funmi is a fellow of the Institutes of Management Consultant of Nigeria and Agribusiness Management of Nigeria. She is a member of the Nigeria Institute of Training and Development (NITAD), and is a certified ILO Women In Digital Business Trainer. 

Funmilayo has a diploma in leadership and management from the Swedish Leadership Institute, a certificate in entrepreneurship in emerging economies from Harvard Business School, and a certificate in entrepreneurial management from Enterprise Development Centre, Pan-Atlantic University, among other things. 

Funmilayo has been the recipient of various awards amongst which are: The Amazonian Icon of Female Entrepreneurial Courage for the year 2019 by Lagos City News, the Meritorious Person of Excellence Award from Rotary Club of Gowon Estate, the 2020 International Women’s Day Award by NECA's Network of Entrepreneurial Women (NNEW) in conjunction with International Chambers of Commerce Nigeria(ICC) for her valuable support and immense contributions to the promotion of Gender Balance activities and I AM NIGERIA WOMEN ACHIEVERS AWARD 2022.

Funmilayo is an advocate for women’s economic empowerment and a mentor to many.
Hauwa Liman is a youth development practitioner and a multiple award-winning business and social entrepreneur working at the intersection of development, policy, and entrepreneurship. In the past decade, she built her career with the largest government youth agency in Africa, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Nigeria

Passionate about women and youth issues, Hauwa founded The Inspire for Impact Initiative, an award-winning women/youth-centered initiative focusing on human capital development and the empowerment of women and young people. This project won the Leveraging Innovation in New Communities Award from the US Department of State in 2022. 

Hauwa is a recipient of numerous local and international awards. In 2016, she was selected as a Mandela Washington Fellow, a flagship program launched by former US President Barack Obama to identify promising young African leaders with the potential to promote innovation and make positive changes in their communities and countries. Hauwa was also selected as one of the top 50 emerging global policy leaders by the British Council in 2017. 

Hauwa has a bachelor's degree in economics and a master’s degree in development, both from Bayero University Kano, Nigeria. As a Commonwealth Scholar, she completed another master’s degree in migration, mobility, and development from SOAS University of London. She holds various certificates, including certificates in leadership, entrepreneurship, design thinking, and public policy. Hauwa was a two-time youth delegate to the United Nations General Assembly, a 2018 Gates Foundation Goalkeeper, and a 2019 Global Goals Ambassador on SDG1. 

Hauwa has created a unique brand Afrik Abaya, and her designs have graced some prestigious runways. The brand won the second prize for innovation and its designs were showcased at the Accademia Riacci in Florence, Italy.

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