Inclusive Founders Program

A hands-on skills development programme focused on eliminating the constraints faced by women entrepreneurs when trying to grow and expand their businesses locally and internationally.

This program combines training, mentorship and access to network and capital, to help Nigerian women start, grow and scale their businesses.

The 6-module programme is specially designed for women entrepreneurs and is focused on enabling women to become clear on their business offering, gain access to the local and international market and build sustainable businesses.

By joining the program, you will also become a member of the Rise and Lead Founders Table Network – Africa, an online platform and community that connects female entrepreneurs while providing learning resources, ongoing business advisory and mentorship.

The purpose of the program is to promote the financial inclusion of women while closing the economic gender gap.

We aspire to help 180 female entrepreneurs, in two years to develop innovative business plans and gain the business management skills and networks required to start, scale and grow their businesses locally and internationally.

Delivery and implementation of the Inclusive Founders Program for identified candidates.

Rise and Lead, together with its partners, launches “The Inclusive Founders program, to support African women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses enabling them to expand their business from micro to SMEs and to gain access to capital for business expansion. 

The program differentiates itself by providing training and mentorship on issues such as:

  • Business planning and strategy
  • Marketing and Sales Plans
  • PR & Media Strategy 
  •  Obtaining Funding 
  • Managing Business Growth; 
  • Access to markets: exporting goods and services 
  • Access to a social network for connections, nurturing and collaborations. 
  • The program is based on international best practices. 


What is the Selection Process?

Step 1: Apply
Participants to fill and submit the online registration form and answer all the assessment questions. Registration closes on March 6.

Step 2: Online Assessment Result
Participants will receive an email within 14 days to inform you about your next step

Step 3: Telephone Chat
If selected in the first round, members of our Advisory Council will have a telephone chat with you to get to know you better and to give you a chance to understand the program.

Step 4: Final Selection

Once our team has evaluated and approved your selection, you will receive an invitation letter to join the program officially.

What is the basis of the assessment?

Time commitment

Participants are expected to dedicate up to 6 hours per month to cover the time for workshops, research, study and networking.

Viable business idea

Participants with innovative business ideas based on their social impact will be chosen

 Number of years in business

Participants with at least two years of business experience will be selected

Commitment to pay it forward

All participants, after the program, will be expected to host at least one community mentoring circle to prepare other aspiring entrepreneurs to join the Inclusive Founders Program.

What is the number of participants per cohort?

Up to 30 entrepreneurs will join the program. There are two cohorts per year, run in different cities.

What is the program schedule?

The workshops and peer mentorship will be held virtually on the first Tuesday of every month for six months with four face-to-face classroom sessions and 4 Founders Table networking meeting and one summit within the year.

Who is this program for?

Women-owned micro and small business enterprises operating within Nigeria
Age: 25 – 45 years old with at least two years of business experience
A diverse group of established and new business owners from different tribes, religion and industries
Entrepreneurs with innovative ideas and social impact objectives.

Through the Inclusive Founders Program, we will be progressing the following SDGs:

  • Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
  • Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
  • Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
  • Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries

Program Schedule

March 26 -27, 2020: Rising Leaders’ Summit Africa

April 1 – May 30, 2020: Initial assessment, idea selection and coordination, curriculum customised for the unique needs of these communities

June 1 – November 1, 2020: Inclusive Founders Program delivery and implementation

October 1 – December 1 2020: Business plan development, Funding needs assessment and implementation and continuous monitoring and mentorship.

Our Rise and Lead Women community stakeholders are Financial Institutions, Social Impact Organisations and Investors.

The members of the Rise and Lead Education Advisory Council will go through the business proposals, conduct assessment interview and select individuals for the program.

Program Cost

This program is FREE for all entrepreneurs who are selected to join the program. The cost of joining the Inclusive Founders program is covered by the Rise and lead organisation and our partners.