By Adedoyin Jaiyesimi
I went for the 2016 WIMBIZ Annual Conference with one goal in mind; to make sure social media for the two-day conference was a complete hit. In the weeks leading up to the conference, I worked at the WIMBIZ secretariat to amplify social media publicity for the conference. Despite the fact that I had the opportunity to learn more about WIMBIZ and the amazing work they do, nothing in those few weeks that I worked at the secretariat prepared me for the annual conference.
So many things were said during the WIMBIZ Annual Conference and it will be impossible for me to highlight all the great points here. I’m going to share with you the top five things I took out of the conference and if you are a woman reading this, I hope you can learn from them too.
Power is not given, it is taken
When Dr Doyin Salami who was a keynote speaker at the conference made this statement, you could literally feel the excitement rise up in the air. He did not try to sugar coat his words; if you want power as a woman, you must go out and get it. No one will give you power out of pity or simply because you are a woman. Women must come together and demand for power.
Women have to put up a united front
Women coming together to support one another was a recurring theme throughout the conference. The truth is that women need to be united. We must support other women. We must be willing to build up other women and push them forward. We can’t afford to bring ourselves down anymore. There’s too much at stake. It’s not enough for one or two women to break the glass ceiling. We must all break the glass ceiling wherever we find ourselves.
As a business, you need to scale up in stages
I thoroughly enjoyed the plenary on scaling up your business because I’m at that point where I definitely need to scale up my business and I’ve been thinking about the right way to go about it. Mrs Ibukun Awosika gave me greater clarity when she said when it comes to scaling up, you have to do it in stages. Don’t attempt to jump many steps at once. In other words, do not bite more than you can chew or more than you can handle as a business. Consider the market and industry trends, find out what will work for your business and look for low-cost alternatives to help you scale up. Leveraging technology is very important here.
Pay attention to your network
Even before the WIMBIZ Annual Conference, this is something that was emphasized over and over again – networking. There is power in your network. I cannot begin to tell you how many clients have come my way simply because someone in my network referred me. Having a strong network is essential and it starts by creating symbiotic relationships and getting to know people. Always look out for ways to expand your network. Make new friends, go for more events and talk to people. The most important thing that people forget when it comes to networking is to add value. People hardly forget those who add value to their lives.
Every woman should be a part of WIMBIZ
I just had to put this here. Remember I said I worked at the WIMBIZ secretariat for a month? I got to see the great effort being put into developing and empowering women. From the Big Sister program aimed at girls in secondary schools to the Round-table Lunch events which brings together female entrepreneurs from all walks of life to talk about topical business issues, there is something for every woman at WIMBIZ. I think it is the best support group any woman can have. I heard firsthand testimonies of women who have been impacted by one WIMBIZ program or the other and I also saw firsthand the commitment of the WIMBIZ team towards improving the lives of women.
The 2016 WIMBIZ Annual Conference may be over but all the lessons learned will continue to stay with me.
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