Funding for Sanitary Products: Poor sanitary materials affect the social and mental well-being of females in low resource setting. Many use a health compromising material which undermines their safety and dignity. Research shows that girl’s capacity to manage period is affected by lack of access to affordable hygiene materials, leading to school absenteeism, reduced level of concentration in class, and low participation. Many are dissatisfied by the sanitary materials they could access thereby depriving girls’ school days.
Identifying this problem
Drawn to the need of adolescent girls, Tabitha Abimiku decided to become a social entrepreneur. She discovered that only one out of ten girls use a sanitary pad; others settle for more unhygienic options like rags and banana leaves which have serious adverse health effects, with some girls missing school during this period. Driven by the need to provide a lasting solution to this problem, she did her research and developed Virtuous core Reusable Pad in 2018.
Making Reusable Sanitary Products
Before her encounter with the TEF program, she never got the validation, support, or acceptance she needed; on the verge of giving up her dream, she got selected for the 2019 TEF program. She got visibility and validation for business; it gave her confidence that her company could transform Africa, which increased her confidence level and knowledge and capacity building during the program.
The seed funding has been very crucial in scaling her business by enabling her increase production.
“With the seed funding of $5000, she was able to purchase machinery and increase her turn out from 10 from 5000 pieces of pad per day; with this, she expanded the business and moved from producing at home to a NAFDAC-approved factory.”
Tabitha Abimiku has created 8 new jobs since funding and has increased her annual revenue from $6,000S to $47,000 since funding.
Furthermore, her business has gotten more visibility across the country and have produced sanitary products for reputable organizations like EHA clinic and Urban Shelter Limited.
“We had an increased visibility that helped our users from 50 per year to more than 50,000 users now and still counting with more than 10 distributors across the 36 states.”
She recently launched an impact project titled ‘Dignity for her product’ to provide a holistic approach to drive change through product, education, and Advocacy, bundled alongside comprehensive menstrual hygiene management and sexual reproductive health programming for adolescent girls. So far, 300 girls have been trained with the hope of training 2000 by the end of 2022.
A revenue model allowing these girls to earn commissions from the sale of Virtuous Reusable Pads was established, empowering them, and making them less vulnerable. The innovation is to assign the girls’ guardians as drop shippers for reusable pads in the community. The girls then sell these pads within their community, creating economic opportunities and helping break the poverty cycle.
She pitched for another grant and won an additional $15000, $5000 from AGS tribe Enterprise Challenge, winning first place during the pitch competition (Now Herconomy E), and $10000 from the funding space 2019 through the Rising tide Africa during the pitch competition.
ABOUT THE TONY ELUMELU FOUNDATION
The Tony Elumelu Foundation is the leading philanthropy empowering a new generation of African entrepreneurs, driving poverty eradication, catalysing job creation across all 54 African countries, and ensuring inclusive economic empowerment. Since the launch of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme in 2015, the Foundation has trained over 1.5 million young Africans on its digital hub, TEFconnect, and disbursed nearly USD$100 million in direct funding to 18,000 African women and men, who have collectively created over 400,000 direct and indirect jobs. The Foundation’s mission is rooted in Africapitalism, which positions the private sector, and most importantly entrepreneurs, as the catalyst for the social and economic development of the African continent.
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