By Chinenye AnuforoThe MTN Foundation in partnership with the Bank of Industry and the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) has officially launched the first phase of the Y’ellopreneur programme for female entrepreneurs in Nigeria.The announcement was made at a media event hosted by the Foundation, at the MTN Nigeria Head Office, Falomo, Ikoyi.The Y’ellopreneur initiative is designed to build the entrepreneurial skills of 500 women, through capacity-building sessions that will run for four weeks.The outstanding 150 entrepreneurs with recommended bankable businesses will be supported with an equipment loan of up to N2 million each at a fixed interest rate of 2.5% and 36 months repayment duration. The programme is focused on advancing women’s development in the area of entrepreneurship through capacity building, advisory and business support services.Giving the opening remark at the media event, Director, MTN Foundation, Dr. Mosun Belo-Olusoga, highlighted the impact the Y’ellopreneur initiative will have on women-owned businesses in Nigeria. “This is a cause I am particularly passionate about, and I am gratified that MTN is demonstrating its continued commitment to supporting women’s development through the implementation of the Y’ellopreneur initiative.The initiative will contribute to reductions in female unemployment and advance our development through training designed to enhance the entrepreneurial abilities of the 500 women,” she said.Speaking on the selection of the Y’ellopreneur participants, Executive Secretary, MTN Foundation, Odunayo Sanya said, “We were particular about the types of business that we wanted to fund. For us, it was about the real economy, and today we are training women across a range of businesses including; manufacturing, processing, ICT, agriculture, waste management and recycling.“It was also important that we had applications from women across Nigeria and we currently have women across the country who are part of the selected participants,” she said.Also speaking at the event, Divisional Head, SME South, Bank of Industry, Obaro Osah said, “We understand that women are the backbone of entrepreneurship in Nigeria, and that is one of the reasons the Bank of Industry has put several initiatives in place to support women-led businesses at the same time helping them scale their business. We are excited to partner with the MTN Foundation on this initiative.”The Y’ellopreneur initiative, the first of its kind in furthering MTN Foundation’s strategic effort to participate in the reduction of female unemployment in Nigeria, will help transform budding small businesses for Nigerian women. It began with a call for entries on June 23, 2022, and over 42,300 women applied for the initiative of which 500 were selected to be the first set of Y’ellopreneurs.