Losing her father as a young girl, Nkem watched her widowed mother like other women in her community and communities around her struggle to feed and educate their families because of lack of skills and access to finance needed to start a business. Rather than bring her down, this inspired her to start up what is today called Mamamoni.
With a mission to eradicate poverty through economic empowerment of poor women, Nkem set up Mamamoni, a social enterprise that is addressing community transformation by empowering women to carry on small businesses. Loan recipients get low interest loans in return for signing up for a system designed to create impact on financial inclusion and children’s education. She started Mamamoni at a time where she says she had very limited funds to help these women, but today through her intervention over 4000 low-income women and their families have been impacted and Mamamoni has grown beyond bounds, earning recognition of the Nigerian presidency and very recently making it to the YNaija 100 Most Influential Women.
Asides been listed as one of the most innovative tech Tech start-ups by the President of Nigeria, Nkem and her team of five have over the past few months achieved couple of milestones including the launch a fin-tech platform www.mamamoni.org which enables individuals all over the world invest in poor women by lending to them and as well giving finance for business to over 100 low-income women. Investment in poor women through Mamamoni has been tested by several persons including staff of the Tony Elumelu Foundation bringing in very timely returns and very detailed report on the use of the funds by the women.
The 2015 Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneur says access to finance is a major challenge faced by women in Africa for their business start-up or expansion but for her organisations like the Tony Elumelu Foundation helping female entrepreneurs across Africa with funding for their businesses are God sent and will help bridge the gap.
Nkem rates the mentorship given by the Tony Elumelu Foundation very high, in her words “I have been able to manage the various challenges I have encountered due to my experience working in the bank for almost 8 years and with the help of my mentor Mrs Oluwatoyin Sanni who has over 25 years’ experience in the finance sector, her guidance has really been helpful. The mentoring, training and funding from The Tony Elumelu Foundation has really helped my journey as a Social Entrepreneur, through the mentoring I was able to refine my business model, get introductions to potential investors, get help from someone who has more experience than me, the training taught me how to run a business successfully, and the funding helped us secure office space and start-up capital to run our business”
Love and empathy for poor women remains a major driving force for the Mamamoni team but Nkem says she has remained focused, hardworking, determined and as well continued to apply the training and mentorship gotten from the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme.