In a bid to accelerate women’s contribution to the economy, Crown Flour Mill (CFM) Limited, makers of the popular Mama Gold flour, has launched a gender upskilling initiative tagged ‘Crown Flour Angels’ (CFA). The initiative was launched recently to help more Nigerian women acquire baking skills or improve on their current baking skillset while strengthening their capacity to build successful baking business and become successful entrepreneurs.
CFA hosted the inaugural edition of its 3-day accelerated bakers’ training in Lagos recently. The training was facilitated by Omolara Ikpen, International Cake Exploration Societé (ICES); President, Afoke Osubor, Cake and Fruit Expert, amongst other subject matter experts that made up the capacity building faculty.
Understandably, the segment targeted for the capacity building initiative is the cake baking segment. The global cake market size, valued at US$42.94 billion in 2019, is expected to reach US$55.7 billion by 2027, growing at a 3.77 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the period. This impressive annual growth trajectory is an attractive proposition for entrepreneurial young women searching for a lucrative market amid tough global and national economic events. The CFM upskilling initiative in the cake baking segment, therefore, provides a path for women in the country to achieve their entrepreneurial dreams while staking a claim to scaled economic participatory roles.
Speaking about the capacity-building initiative, Ashish Pande, the Managing Director of Crown Flour Mill Limited, said, “Given that women constitute approximately half of the nation’s population and are the backbone of the family which is the bedrock and the foundation of the society, implementing a capacity development initiative in the lucrative cake baking segment will help us make a significant positive impact among that demographic.”
He explained that the number of capacity-building initiatives in the bakery industry targeted specifically at the female gender are inadequate, hence the rationale behind CFM’s decision to change the narrative by introducing CFA, which focuses on deepening the capacity of the female bakers. He said that the initiative would reinvigorate the women community as well as raise the standards of living across households as women have the potential to contribute more to homes.
Elaborating on the women capacity-building effort, Olayinka Yusuf, Head of Crown Flour Mill Baking School, cited that the tactics deployed by CFA are aimed at ensuring that the upskilling initiative achieves the targeted impact. He said, “Skill improvement is an essential part of any wider entrepreneurial development plan. As part of a bold execution plan that is being put in place to ensure seamless execution of the Crown Flour Angels campaign, we will concentrate on addressing baking-related issues via webinars that will feature well respected experts periodically.”
“About 50 women benefitted from the inaugural training exercise and were awarded certificates at the end of the training exercise,” he said.
This new initiative of free cake baking training for female cake bakers at the Crown Flour Baking Academy is yet another timely intervention by CFM to economically empower Nigerian women. It also marks the beginning of what it believes will be a new and exciting journey and trusts that this altruistic initiative will be impactful for female bakers across Nigeria.
Only recently, CFM donated irrigation equipment to some women wheat farmers in Kano State to help deepen the productivity levels of these farmers and as part of its value chain developmental efforts. It would be recalled that CFM, in consultation with bakers, has been working tirelessly to close the skills and knowledge gap in the bakery industry to ensure the industry continues to play the crucial role of supporting Nigeria’s nutritional needs. While it has set up various baking schools across the country, the Crown Flour Angels initiative is another innovative approach to addressing the unemployment and socio-economic challenges of the nation.