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Online Empowerment, Can lead to Offline Empowerment, The YOUWIN Women Story

Online empowerment can lead to offline empowerment, me and 1,199 women are living proofs on the above subject matter.
It all began in the year 2012, the Federal government of Nigeria in collaboration with various partners, the World Bank inclusive advertized a business plan competition called "Youth Enterprise with innovation, with the acronym YOUWIN. It is an innovative business plan competition aimed at business idea development for startups existing businesses, and job creation. The grant was from $6,000-$80,000. Eligibility is a post secondary school qualification, a woman and Nigerian between the ages of 18-45 years, and the enterprise must be established In Nigeria.

Registration and the business plan template was only online, accessible on the YOUWIN website, which meant there was a lot of interaction online everyday, to beat timelines. Before then most of the women had never spent that amount of time on the net. We were one hundred and seventy thousand women (170, 000) that applied, six thousand (6000) of the best were selected to proceed to the finals. We recieved trainings on basic entrepreneurship, the training materials was only available online, we had to download the pdf and powerpoint versions for studies offline, including the automated excel sheets, for cash flow projections, profit and loss. Apart from the facilitators, the only interaction with the secretariat was via emails, or the website and short messaging system (SMS) through our phones.

One thousand two hundred of us emerged winners in the finals. It became national news, because for the first time in a nation were everything is always done based on nepotism and god fatherism, the YOUWIN program was very transparent. 99% of this was achieved through the application of ICT tools and the internet that didnt allow, the markers to have a clue of the applicants.

We began another series of training called booth camps, which was facilitated by the Directorate of International Development (DFID) of the British Government and the "Make it happen Group, an online complete business support system specially tailored for YOUWIN winners. The website has been a tremendous help to us offering full support from actualizing our business plans to operations. It is also interactive, so we are able to network, connect and share information with fellow awardees, like i have been telling them about World pulse. We get experts advice, access a wide range of resources guides and fact sheets.

We have recieved our grants, our business have taken off and doing well, our business skills have sharpened, in Nigeria, 1,200 great businesses have been birthed from Agribusiness, Children's parks, film production, schools providing quality education, recycling, biodegradables and other industries to numerous to mention.
To this journal I will also add that prior to this competition I had never written a business plan before, I accessed all the information I used from the Internet, with all I know now I have become an expert doing other business plan and earning money from it. Through online empowerment our capacity has been built, for offline empowerment

This story was written for World Pulse’s Women Weave the Web Digital Action Campaign. Learn more »


Eliel sam's picture

Thanks to FGN, youwin project

Thanks to FGN, youwin project is great ,am a witness.

Ene's picture


Thanks for your comment are you an awardee?,
Stay blessed

Eliel sam's picture

Yes Youwin 1, hope ur

Yes Youwin 1, hope ur business is doing well. eliel.

Ene's picture


Glad to know you are on the team my business is doing well. How is yours what are you into?

Eliel sam's picture

Am into food processing, my

Am into food processing, my business is doing fine by His grace.

Ene's picture


Wow, I am part of that sector, where are you @.Am in Kaduna, what are you processing too many questions abi?, I like to know so we can find common grounds.

Eliel sam's picture

Hi,network was so poor, am

Hi,network was so poor, am into cassava, plantain and beans, am in uyo Akwa lbom state. l have great passion for the work" processing"

Ene's picture

About the network

Yes I struggled with it so much yesterday, I am cultivating cassava and working to set up my processing plant are you aware of the half grant half loan from Bank of industry ? For bread and flour milling.

Eliel sam's picture

oh yes, what type of cassava

oh yes, what type of cassava cuttings are u cultivating? l cultivate also, if you are to processed cassava flour 419 is the best. goodnight sleep. where are you getting your machines from?

Ene's picture

Type of cassava

I am using UMUCASS 2, it is supposed to give a yield of 53 tons max per hectare got it through iita Ibadan.
I am buying my machines from china. I also hot the planter from there

Eliel sam's picture


pls what is the name of ur dryer?and how much did you buy it what capacity is it, and the planter pls tell me about them. happy weekend, El.

Ene's picture


I ordered for a whole processing plant total the dryer is part of it am on face book Ene Unoogwu we will, talk extensively then I will give you the details and the catalogue .How are you

Eliel sam's picture

happy sunday

Very well then , see u after church , am to minister in a church on their women programme. happy Sunday. El

Eliel sam's picture

hi Ene

hi ene, how are you?

Ene's picture

Am fine

Long time no see how are you you ve not been here forca while, send me your FB account.

Eliel sam's picture


my dear busy looking for cash, my FB Account, Eliel Sam .

binapatel33's picture

Good Job

Thank you for sharing your story with us. It is very inspirational and please keep up the good work.

Kind Regards,
Bina Patel
hc Mediate, LLC

Ene's picture

Good Job

Dear Bina,
Thanks very much for reading my story am very glad.

Kristina M's picture

Offline empowerment

Hello Ene,

I found it very interesting that since the YOUWIN applicants were anonymous, many more women were awarded grants. It would be nice if it became normal to award programs based on merit instead of who you know or what sex you happen to be.

Good luck in all of your businesses that you have started.


Ene's picture

Offline Empowerment

The YOUWIN program, started with an edition that was meant for men and women, which was the first edition, in that edition of 1200 people, the number of women who participated was very very low so the coordinating Minister a woman advocated that the 2nd edition was to be exclusively women just to encourage entrepreneurship among women. When I say anonymous, that happens when the templates are uploaded for the professionals who marked, this was to ensure transparency, My country thrives on nepotism alot. Otherwise people like me won't benefit. The subsequent edition which is ongoing now is for both sexes, and like our edition is still based on merit. I think its ok to encourage women because in this edition seeing how we benefitted more women participated and were successful. In Nigeria we still have gender issues, even in our immediate families, like you are treated based on your sex.
All the best.

Tam's picture

Very Exciting

Dear Ene,

This news is so exciting, and also to read the immediate exchanges among a number of you who now have businesses and can also be in touch with each other about how the businesses are going, and what techniques and/or equipment are working best for you. The development of economic security for women is so critical to being able to do anything at all. That it is growing in your country, along with such strong connections, provides a map for others. If we can figure out how to support and expand each others' businesses globally, we will all be even more free to create the changes that empower women everywhere. Your report has added to my thinking about how we might be able to link arms on an economic level, globally. How wonderful that 2000 women have overcome nepotism and won this business plan competition.

With Love in Sisterhood,


Ene's picture

very exicting

Your comment in itself is very thought inspiring, i will refer to it each time am doing a piece on women's entrepreneurship Nigeria is very particular these days about women and progressing economically. Yesterday a fund of over $200 million dollars was realised to promote Small and meduim enterprises and 60% was meant for women businesses. If you ve got any ideas on how to promote women economically let me know.
Thanks very much

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