Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.
Hi friends, it’s Spiffy, back again on Planet Earth with an eye on leaders making the world a more equitable place! I have one more interview for you this week. Today I’m excited to cruise around with Abimbola Olufore Wycliffe, head of the Investment and Technology Promotion Office (ITPO) in Nigeria at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). Are you ready to be inspired?
Spiffy: It’s wonderful to meet you, Abimbola. I’m curious about the challenges UNIDO is addressing. What can you tell me?
Abimbola: It’s great to be here, Spiffy! I help women in Nigeria start businesses. I find them money, break down unfair rules, and introduce them to the right technology. We work together to make their dreams come true!
Spiffy: That’s very inspiring! What motivates you to do it?
Abimbola: My motivation is seeing women in Nigeria turn their dreams into successful businesses. I want to help them overcome challenges and make a positive impact on their lives and communities.
Spiffy: More power to you! What is the impact of your work?
Abimbola: My work helps women across West Africa to achieve their goals and contribute to economic growth and social development by partnering with banks for funding, challenging stereotypes through awareness, providing business training to women, matching technology to their solutions, organizing networking events, advocating for supportive policies, offering resources and mentorship, engaging local communities, and monitoring and adjusting for success.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organizational milestone or initiative. What impact does that make?
Abimbola: I manage a six-year initiative focused on enhancing investment, innovation, and technology exchange in Africa, supporting various entities and collaborating with UNIDO offices. In my first year, I secured an extension of our program until 2027 with a government funding commitment and expanded our initiative to include partnerships with all the member states in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA), diversifying our funding sources and increasing our impact across the continent.
Spiffy: Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?
Abimbola: Additionally, my office—UNIDO ITPO—also does something cool. They help startups and small businesses find technology solutions that can make their businesses better. It's like playing a matchmaker but with technology. So, they help businesses find the right technology tools to grow and succeed, making it easier for businesses to operate and grow in West Africa, benefiting the economies and the people who live there.
Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Abimbola—it’s been an honor!
Abimbola Olufore Wycliffe is a dynamic professional with a track record of pioneering gender lens investing across Africa. With a diverse background spanning the private sector to public service, she currently serves as the head of the ITPO in Nigeria at UNIDO. Her focus lies in enhancing investment, driving technology adoption, and promoting financial inclusion, embodying a unique blend of expertise and a passion for transformative change. (First published on the Ladderworks website on October 20, 2023.)
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Sujit Kunte. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.