BY ONOME AMUGE
Shecluded, a Nigerian fintech startup that offers growth loans,wealth advisory and other financial services dedicated to bridging financial inclusion gap among African women, has emerged winner of the U.S.-backed SelectUSA tech pitch competition for Nigerian female-led tech startups interested in expanding their business operations into the United States.
The competition, which is part of the U.S government’s committed support for entrepreneurship development as a key driver for stimulating economic growth in Nigeria, saw nine startups present their pitch before a panel of accomplished U.S. and Nigerian business leaders, including U.S. Consulate representatives.
Following a close contest and valuable feedback on their business proposals, Ifeoma Uddoh, founder of Shecluded and 2021 alumna of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs emerged as the overall winner of the competition.
Consequently, Uddoh will receive a complimentary ticket to attend the annual SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington DC from June 26-29, with the opportunity to pitch to venture capitalists, corporate investors, representatives from startup ecosystems, and industry experts at the regional, Middle East & Africa Pitch event.
The summit, according to the U.S government, will offer Uddoh an unprecedented opportunity to learn how to expand her business to the United States, make the right connections, learn about investment destinations, and discover relevant resources to move the start-up forward.
Jennifer Foltz, deputy public affairs officer of the U.S. consulate, who congratulated the participants for their outstanding pitches, said the U.S. government is committed to providing women with the knowledge, networks, and access they need to launch and scale successful businesses.
The U.S. government, he noted, is proud to support young female entrepreneurs who are key to Nigeria’s future prosperity.
“We look forward to continuing to foster a strong entrepreneurial culture by providing skills training, resources, mentorship, and opportunities for Nigerian entrepreneurs to expand their businesses locally and to the United States,” Foltz said.
The annual SelectUSA Investment Summit is considered the largest event dedicated to promoting foreign direct investment in the U.S.
The summit presents a vital opportunity for business potentials to meet business opportunities as it connects qualified companies with U.S. economic development organisations to facilitate business investment and job creation.