"OLEJU" The Meaning
Oleju was coined out from the Itsekiri dialect, a native tribe of in Delta State Nigeria which means “uncommon beauty” which literally symbolizes what we do as an organization.
We believe our goal which to support women transform thier lives and rewrite their stories through uncommon approaches is an embodiment of the name OLEJU
Implementing the SDG’s and advocate/ support for Women’s Economic rights.
Accelerating social economic growth of rural women, through digital learning and financial inclusion innovations.
- Integrity: As an organization committed to serving humanity, we strive to pursue honorable initiatives and conduct business in a way that is honest, transparent and ethical.
- Excellence: excellence to us means that we invest in cultivating and training our team to achieve our set tangible benchmarks and we work collectively to routinely succeed at achieving our mission upholding high and efficient delivery standards.
- Empowerment: To us is not about providing a quick fix solution to community problems; we believe in striving to fix larger systemic problems and empower our beneficiaries to live better lives.
- Community: we embrace our community by collaborating with other agencies and partners in the community. We believe that we can accomplish more if we complement the existing resources available in the community rather than duplicate them.
GET TO KNOW US…
OLEJU is a social enterprise working to accelerate social economic growth of rural women.
OLEJU was established out of the need to solve the growing problem of social, economic, financial and digital exclusion of rural women leading to extreme poverty among women despite their efforts and contributions to the economic landscape their communities.
OLEJU is positioned to help provide appropriate platforms and management systems that support, harness and expand development opportunities that enable beneficiaries to progressively grow their entrepreneurial capacities and economic standing in the society.
OLEJU through its innovative products and services promotes financial inclusion for formal and informal Micro, Small and Medium-scale entrepreneurs at the bottom of the market pyramid in different sectors and value chains.
OLEJU originated as an initiative of Rural Development and Reformation Foundation (RUDERF) a non-profit organization advocating for the rights/empowerment of women/girls and to support access to education for children in rural communities, towards ending extreme poverty. In 2017 when RUDERF launched the OLEJU project out of need in her host communities, its focus was to equip women with vocational skill and incubate them in their entrepreneurship hub for a year to learn and launch sustainable enterprises leveraging on the skill learned.
However, over the years the OLEJU project evolved due to the growing needs and changing socio economic landscapes, determining the nature of intervention that drives sustainable impact and maximizes the potential of her women beneficiaries while building their capacities in areas that are paramount. In 2018 OLEJU emerged an award winner of the Google Impact Challenge Africa Program and positioned herself as a front liner in women economic development in Nigeria, and went on to receive support and partnerships from organizations such as LEAP Africa, Union Bank of Nigeria PLC and Salesforce.
In 2019 OLEJU was formally registered with CAC as a social enterprise committed to accelerating social economic growth of rural women to solve the growing problem of social, economic, financial and digital exclusion of rural women leading to extreme poverty among women despite their efforts and contributions to the economic landscape in their communities.
To bridge existing financial and digital inclusion gaps for rural women and promote inclusive economic growth, through technological solutions to expand financial/ trade opportunities while optimizing women’s entrepreneurial capacities.
To provide simplified and tailored financial and digital inclusion services, platforms & management systems that boost MSME growth and increases sustainable economic development for women led businesses
OLEJU’s new dimension of impact was inspired by the need to provide an encompassing solution for women entrepreneurs, especially in rural communities towards bridging the existing gaps in digital learning and financial inclusion, which is evident in their limited presence and engagement in the growing digital economy, leveraging technology to expand financial opportunities while optimizing women’s entrepreneurial capacities. To this end we have developed 4 core innovative products that
utilize a holistic technology based, rural women focused, and easy to use systems as tools to enhance financial inclusion of formal and informal Micro and Small-scale entrepreneurs across sectors.
OLEJU utilizes a technology based solution that help both literate and illiterate women leading MSMEs in rural communities understand and manage their business financial records seamlessly without supervision, thereby creating track-able and authentic records to facilitate scale-up,access new markets and expand trade opportunities.
OLEJU products and services helps users to generate genuine, real-time business documentation, provides framework for business performance diagnostics and helps generate business status report while also providing simple financial literacy modules and business management platform that is continuously accessible anytime and anywhere as an online and offline service, making the products user-friendly for rural communities.
BACKGROUND & CONTEST
The OLEJU Enterprise was developed to address some underlying issues affecting women led micro, small and medium sized enterprises leading to their collapse and failure, whichincreases extreme poverty among women and also enhances social issues such as of inequality, exclusion and disempowerment.
Some of these problems are; poor accounting and book-keeping, poor documentation and recording skills, poor financial literacy, lack of and inadequate training in entrepreneurial and business management skills, lack of information on business opportunities, high interest rates for borrowing, lack of access to finance and credit that would facilitate larger volumes of trade and high quality of products, low culture of quality assurance resulting largely from lack of standardization facilities, lack of access to finance and credit that would facilitate larger volumes of trade and high quality of products, limited knowledge, skills and opportunities in the context of increased market linkages through information and communications technology (ICT), administrative, regulatory and other gendered barriers in trade, customs, technology, complex bureaucratic rules and procedures etc.
In response to the perceived challenges the OLEJU solution seeks to utilize an all-encompassing approach to address gender inequality, financial exclusion and open up global business opportunities for women in Micros, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
Women in Nigeria face multiple barriers that hinder them from accessing economic opportunities such as access to critical productive resources like land, capital and markets.
49.2% of Nigeria’s population is female, but despite being almost half the population, women remain hugely underprivileged and struggle with different forms of social, economic and cultural limitations leading to high poverty rate among women.
According to available data, women access less than 12% of credit facilities in the financial sector. 65% of women live below the poverty line in Nigeria.
Only 42.6% of women had access to formal financial services compared to 54.5% of men as at 2014, while 26.5 million women are excluded from digital financial solution and commerce.
Also according to an IFAD report, 40% of global GDPA is generated by rural women; therefore, bridging the financial inclusion gap for rural women is imperative for global economic development to be sustained.
Furthermore, increasing access to finance for women is not just good for them, but for the entire economy because women are important economic power-blocks that remains largely untapped and women’s inclusion can catalyze digital economic growth.
KEY GENDER ISSUES & CONCERNS
The key gender issues and concerns that drive the OLEJU Enterprise include;
- Integrating women into the digital economy as a key to sustainable national growth.
- Women’s Economic disempowerment and disproportionate access to financial, trade and market access opportunities.
- Addressing Financial Exclusion and Bridging Digital Gender Gaps