Young women should benefit from the growing impact investment market: Ujunwa Ojemeni

Ujunwa Ojemeni is a financing, business development and clean energy expert with experience in the areas of opportunity maturation, project financing and impact investing.

She has been in the energy sector for over five years now. She was in project development for a while before transiting to impact investment.

While in energy project development, she coordinated several gases and power development opportunities valued at approximately $300 Million.

In energy impact investing, her work has involved working with partners to catalyze funding to the clean energy sector such as the $100Million Off-Grid Energy Access Fund (OGEF) along with the African Development Bank and others, as well as driving investments in and managing investments in various clean energy companies.

She is currently working with project developers by structuring and arranging appropriate financing for their businesses, working with partners to deploy innovative energy solutions and providing long term strategic support to key energy enterprises.


Tell us about some of your projects

Earlier this year, I was selected as one of the 60 young African Clean Energy Leaders for the Open Power Africa 2019 program by Enel Foundation in collaboration with top African and Italian academic institutions.

I was one of the 16 finalists of the program who proceeded to complete the final module of the fellowship based on the quality of our capstone projects. I also emerged as a finalist in the IFC Sustainability Exchange Ideas Contest for Youth Innovations 2019.

To promote the participation of more women in the energy sector, I recently launched “The African Women in Energy Development Initiative – AWEDI Network”.

It is the pioneer African organization focused on women across the entire energy value chain to offer mentorship, career sponsorship (acceleration), capacity building, and leadership training for women at all stages of their energy careers and for female students at the secondary and tertiary levels.

I have always been passionate about helping SMEs to be successful and founded the “SME Transformation Project” through which I provide business advisory and funding to women-owned
SMEs in low-income communities.

I help them navigate through basic business challenges such as marketing and distributing channels, product line expansion, and most importantly, funding, which they have difficulties accessing from traditional financiers.

In addition, I am a mentor at the Cherie Blaire Foundation where I provide support to women entrepreneurs to help them grow as they build their businesses in different parts of the world.

Before all of these, I worked in the management consulting unit of KPMG where I focused on startup advisory and process improvement for such enterprises.

Share your experience with female inclusion in the energy sector?

In 2014, when I started my professional involvement in the energy sector, there were only 2 women on the team, and I was unclear how to navigate or how to find suitable mentors within or even outside the organization.

Although the numbers are gradually improving as more attention is being
given to the subject – more women are coming into the sector.

However, if you look at the management of most companies, it is mostly dominated by men. In fact, although female representation is improving globally, it remains considerately low.

In fortune 500 companies, only 6.6% of CEOs are female and 25.5% of board seats are held by women. This was one of my motivations to launch the African Women in Energy Development Initiative (AWEDI Network).

Being a woman in any sector let alone a male-dominated sector is generally tough and there is still significant room for improvement to make it more conducive for women to thrive.

As I always say, we are equal but different. Women are saddled with the responsibility of childbearing and a lot of times childbearing and home keeping.

Issues such as not employing pregnant women or newly married women are really sad and worrying. Organizations are typically worried about the gaps caused by maternity leave but the evidence is clear that a diverse workforce is good for the bottom line.

Furthermore, returning to work after maternity leave is not always smooth especially when you have been sidelined and not promoted along with your peers who may not even have performed as well as you.

In some other organizations, there is no provision for things such as nursing rooms for nursing mothers.

Another issue is the ‘flexible working myth’. Some organizations do not make any provisions for this, while others allow it in principle but in reality, it is difficult to utilize it as you might be considered unserious and penalized for it.

As a society and as corporate bodies we must institute
policies and implement the same to enable both men and women to perform optimally – paternity leave is still not taken seriously by many.

What were your major challenges in the industry and how can African women manage it?

One challenge is being undermined maybe because one is young. It is an interesting combination to be young as well as an African female committed to achieving big goals.

Nevertheless, I believe that being an expert in your craft is most important and clearly demonstrating this expertise by being visible. At meetings, there is always something you can contribute – most times we know more than we realize.

So I always encourage women to be bold and speak out more. In addition, we have to network sensibly; unfortunately, we usually do not have the luxury of time to attend all networking events due to other responsibilities but we should pick the most relevant events to attend.

We should also network horizontally and vertically i.e. with our peers and with those in higher cadres.

Another tricky challenge is finding the balance between being confident and people thinking you are self-promoting.

I have learned to ignore any naysayers and self-promote because if you don’t talk about what you have done and what you are doing and keep waiting for someone else to notice you, you will be waiting a long time.

So tell your managers what you have accomplished; share with your network your key accomplishments. We live in a social media age, so accept and embrace it.

Finally, it is easy for people to get threatened by your brilliance and even try to bring you down. But you must rise above that and focus on how you intend to bless the world.

Make your bosses look good but don’t dim your light because others are mediocre. Shine, shine, shine!

How can young businesswomen position themselves in order to benefit impact investment?

Simply put, impact investments are investments that are made with the intention to cause positive, measurable, economic, social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.

The major criteria generally agreed for an investment to qualify as impact investing is that it is intentional i.e. it has a positive impact on social or environmental impact, it is profit-oriented i.e. a clear expected return and although metrics are still being debated, that the impact is measurable.

There is a growing impact investment market globally and particularly focused on developing countries to provide capital to address the world’s most pressing challenges in sectors such as sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, healthcare, education and many more.

Young women can definitely benefit from this growing market either as impact investors themselves or by adequately positioning their enterprises to benefit from those funds.

The key is ensuring that the enterprise meets the criteria mentioned above, as investors are clearly keen on supporting such innovative enterprises.

A quick way to assess how impactful an enterprise is could be assessing its impact of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and considering broader metrics such as how many jobs are created through the enterprise.

Therefore when wondering if your enterprise would be attractive to impact investors, ensure it has economic, social and/or environmental impact accompanied by a financial return. So, impact investments are regarded by some as “doing well by doing good”.

Are there any career opportunities in energy and financial inclusion for women you can share with us?

There are numerous career opportunities in this sector depending on one’s interests, skills, readiness to take on these opportunities amongst others.

On the AWEDI Network platform, we share numerous opportunities daily and weekly. The real decision is for women to decide that they are qualified to take on these roles, apply for them, get the skills required and soar.

The statistics are that women mostly only apply for opportunities when they meet 100% of the hiring criteria while their male peers apply when they meet 60%. So I always encourage women to look beyond their shortcomings and believe in themselves.

In the energy sector whatever your interests are, it could be in legal, governance, finance, investments, technical, etc. there are opportunities for everyone.

Finally, personal development is crucial – I am a proponent for acquiring crucial skills for my next level it could be leadership skills or a new segment of the sector I believe is the future.

Before I joined the clean energy sector, I was in the gas and power sector. This had no form of renewable energy solutions. Over the years even before I switched, I started reading extensively on the future of energy, attending seminars and training to prepare myself for my next steps.

To improve my finance skills I did various financial modeling and investment courses some more structured while others at my pace – @UjunwaOjemeni Click To Tweet

To improve my finance skills I did various financial modeling and investment courses some more structured while others at my pace.

So, I suggest women identify where they want to go and acquire the skills needed for their next level and put themselves out there when the opportunity arises or better still seek out suitable opportunities and read widely.

One thing I learned a few years ago was about ‘pain letters’ from Liz Ryan – she is the founder of Human Workplace and is very vocal on LinkedIn. She proposes that the job seekers identify the pain they are solving for their hiring manager, and write directly to them explaining how they will solve the key challenges.

That is definitely the next level of being proactive and has yielded fruits for many.

What is next for you?

I am currently working on a broader program to better support green enterprises – super excited about this project and the impact these businesses will have in achieving the SDGs.

I will definitely share more details with your network soon.


How are you improving your spending habits this month? Click here to join the SLA #SecureTheBag challenge.

Webinar with FBNQUEST ASSET MANAGEMENT: The balancing act – managing debt and building long term wealth (Oct 11)

“Staying out of debt is staying out of danger”. We don’t remember who said this, but its true!

Not all of us make six figures today, and even when we try hard to maintain financial discipline, this economy sometimes makes it hard to stay out of debt or even pay what we currently owe.

If you want to walk in financial freedom, it’s important for you to have a plan on how to manage your finance effectively and tackle your debts.

Most importantly, you need to make sure you’re not uncomfortable around your friends if they have RIRI’s song as their ringtone everytime y’all are hanging out.

In our previous financial planning webinar’s, we taught you How to make your first investment and how to Save and slay. Now, it’s time to go in deeper as we teach you how to improve your finances by managing your debts and building long-term wealth for yourself.

She Leads Africa, in partnership with FBNQuest Asset Management is inviting you to a 45-minute webinar with skilled wealth advisor and financial planner – Emmanuella Ekhaguere, on Thursday, October 11th, 2018 at 3 PM WAT.

Emmanuella will be giving some tips on how to balance your finances, how to manage your debts better and how to build long-term wealth for yourself.

Join SLA & @FBNQuest for a webinar on October 11th at 3 pm to learn how to manage your debts, build long-term wealth for yourself and how to balance both! Click To Tweet

Some of the topics we’ll cover:

  • Understanding financial fitness and measures
  • Managing your cash flow, budget and time value of money
  • Top 10 ways to live a debt free life.

Webinar details:

Date: Thursday, October 11th, 2018

Time: 3PM Lagos // 4PM Joburg // 5PM Nairobi

Location: We’ll send you the link to join the session once you sign up!

Watch the webinar here:

About Emmanuella

Emmanuella Ekhaguere is Investment Advisor with at FBNQuest Merchant Bank, a subsidiary of FBN Holdings Plc.  She has over 15 years of Agricultural banking and financial planning experience from various Financial Service Institutions.

Emmanuella started her career at Kakawa Discount house Limited as a Client Relationship Officer.  She later moved to Oceanic Bank (now Ecobank Nigeria).

In deepening her passion and experience in Wealth and Investment Banking, Emmanuella joined Metro Capital Advisory Group in 2008. She has an MBA from Aston Business School Birmingham, United Kingdom, and is a certified financial Planner (CFP), from Florida State University (FSU)


FBNQuest Asset Management is a subsidiary of FBNQuest Merchant Bank, one of the strongest and most dependable financial groups in Africa.

They work with individual and institutional investors to provide a strategy best suited to your investment goals and portfolios, from mutual funds to liquidity management etc.

 

Video: “I saved money from my wedding to start my business” – Samiah Oyekan Ahmed

 After attending SLA’s Lafiya Lifestyle Expo where she shared her knowledge on work-life balance, SLA had a tête-à-tête with Samiah Oyekan Ahmed at her store in Abuja.

She also highlighted some challenges she faced when she decided to switch careers. 

“As an only daughter to two medical doctors, deciding to become a full-blown businesswoman wasn’t well received especially by my dad who had great succession plans for me”, said Samiah. 

Beyond all the challenges of starting a business in Nigeria, getting funding to start is usually the hardest, but Samiah was smart with her money, and she found a way to cheat that particular struggle. 

“I saved money from my wedding planning and used it to start”, she says. 

Samiah went ahead to give her two top advice for intending entrepreneurs.

Watch the video here:

 Samiah Oyekan-Ahmed is the Founder of The Gift Source & Fusion Lifestyle. She is a Medical doctor turned entrepreneur, who currently runs two companies, Fusion Lifestyle Ltd, and The Gift Source. 

She is super passionate about hers and other’s entrepreneurial journeys, as well as sharing knowledge. Samiah is a wife and mother of 2 kids as well as a published fiction author.


 If you’d like to get featured on our Facebook page, click here to share your startup story with us.

Quick Maths (4): How to build up an emergency fund for yourself with FSDH Asset Management

Save for the rainy day… it might take a little longer for the sun to shine!

Welcome to the final part of our Quick Maths series by FSDH Asset Management, where we’re giving you simple personal finance tips you can master, to achieve your financial goals.

In the last three series, we showed you how to generate income to start your business, how to diversify your income and how to get the best out of your net income and now we want to teach you how to save for the rainy day.

What do you have saved for the rainy day? Nothing?

We can plan for a lot of things in life, but sometimes, the unexpected just happens. These are the times you face bigger-than-expected bills, but having an emergency fund can make it easier.

An emergency fund is money kept aside in case there are emergencies or problems in the future. 

Now, listen! An emergency fund isn’t for your everyday needs or special wants, so leave your sinful indulgences out of it, and no! flash sales are not emergencies either.

We partnered with FSDH Asset Management Ltd to bring you this guide to help you understand why you need to have an emergency fund and how to start building up your emergency fund(s).

Having an emergency fund prepares you for the unexpected expenses yet to come - @fsdhcoralfunds Click To Tweet

Topics this guide will cover:

  • What is an emergency fund?
  • How much money should you have in an emergency fund?
  • The difference between emergency funds and investments
  • Ways to set aside emergency funds

After reading this guide, you would be one step closer to achieving your financial goals. If you want to keep slaying in your finances, be sure to read up on our previous quick maths series, you’ll be glad you did!
FSDH ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD  – FSDH AM is a wholly owned subsidiary of FSDH Merchant Bank Limited. They are one of Nigeria’s leading asset management and financial advisory firm.

FSDH AM is versatile in financial transactions and investment strategies that meet the need of investors in an emerging economy like Nigeria. They recognize that today’s investors need the services of dedicated and expert professionals to provide them with intelligent investment counsel.

Therefore, their strategies are dedicated to preserving investors’ wealth while maximizing the value that they receive.

Once you’re through with this guide, visit FSDH Asset Management Ltd to know more and get all your pressing questions answered.


Getting access to this guide is easy: just fill out the form below to join our community and get access to this guide. This is the final part of our series but you can get all three series here. By joining our community, you also get to enjoy our AWESOME weekly content as well.

Webinar with FBNQUEST ASSET MANAGEMENT: How to Save and Slay (Aug 3)

How exactly do you indulge in sipping champagne on a beer budget? You gon’ learn today!

First, we’ve taught you How to make your first investment, now its time to learn how to save and SLAY simultaneously.

Saving money may sound like one of the hardest things to do when it comes to your finances especially if your income isn’t breaking the bank. But hey, you only need as much as you have right now to save!

If you’re wondering how to save money without your slay mode depreciating, then this webinar is for you.

SLA in partnership with  FBNQuest Asset Management is inviting you to a 45-minute webinar with skilled wealth advisor and financial planner – Emmanuella Ekhaguere, on Friday, August 3rd, 2018.

Emmanuella will be giving some tips on how you can to start planning and investing for your future with your current income.

Join SLA & @FBNQuest for a webinar on August 3rd to learn how to save and slay. Click To Tweet

Some of the topics we’ll cover:

  • Understanding the psychology of money
  • Living your best life through personal finance management
  • Saving hacks for motherland moguls – daily, monthly and long-term
  • Getting S.M.A.R.T about goal settings and how to achieve them

Watch Video here:

About Emmanuella

Emmanuella Ekhaguere is Investment Advisor with at FBNQuest Merchant Bank, a subsidiary of FBN Holdings Plc.  She has over 15 years of Agricultural banking and financial planning experience from various Financial Service Institutions.

Emmanuella started her career at Kakawa Discount house Limited as a Client Relationship Officer.  She later moved to Oceanic Bank (now Ecobank Nigeria).

In deepening her passion and experience in Wealth and Investment Banking, Emmanuella joined Metro Capital Advisory Group in 2008. She has an MBA from Aston Business School Birmingham, United Kingdom, and is a certified financial Planner (CFP), from Florida State University (FSU)


FBNQuest Asset Management is a subsidiary of FBNQuest Merchant Bank, one of the strongest and most dependable financial groups in Africa.  

They work with individual and institutional investors to provide a strategy best suited to your investment goals and portfolios, from mutual funds to liquidity management etc.

Webinar with FBNQUEST ASSET MANAGEMENT: What you can do now to reach your long-term money goals (Mar 12)

Have you thought about what you want your net worth to be in the next 10 years?

Before you begin to daydream of joining the 30 billion gang, understand that wealthy people today didn’t start planning, investing, and saving last month, or a year ago. You’ve got to start NOW!

If you’re not sure how to begin, we’re about to get you started.

SLA in partnership with  FBNQuest Asset Management is inviting you to join us for a 45-minute webinar with skilled wealth advisor and financial planner – Emmanuella Ekhaguere, on Monday, March 12th, 2018.

Emmanuella will be giving you some tips on how to start planning and investing for your future with your current income.

Join SLA & @FBNQuest for a webinar on March 12th to learn how to reach your long-term money goals. Click To Tweet

Some of the topics we’ll cover:

  • What you need to know about financial planning.
  • The difference between short-term and long-term.
  • Steps you need to take to reach your long-term money goals.

Webinar Details:

  • Date: Monday, March 12th
  • Time: 12pm Lagos  / 1pm Johannesburg/ 2pm Nairobi

Watch the webinar here:

About Emmanuella

Emmanuella Ekhaguere is Investment Advisor with at FBNQuest Merchant Bank, a subsidiary of FBN Holdings Plc.  She has over 15 years of Agricultural banking and financial planning experience from various Financial Service Institutions.

Emmanuella started her career at Kakawa Discount house Limited as a Client Relationship Officer.  She later moved to Oceanic Bank (now Ecobank Nigeria).

In deepening her passion and experience in Wealth and Investment Banking, Emmanuella joined MetroCapital Advisory Group in 2008. She has an MBA from Aston Business School Birmingham, United Kingdom, and is a certified financial Planner (CFP), from Florida State University (FSU)


FBNQuest Asset Management is a subsidiary of FBNQuest Merchant Bank, one of the strongest and most dependable financial groups in Africa.  

They work with individual and institutional investors to provide a strategy best suited to your investment goals and portfolios, from mutual funds to liquidity management etc.