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Business development: Visually impaired persons in Lagos seek government, private sector support

The Lagos chapter of the Nigerian Association of the Blind (NAB) has held an exhibition to showcase the products of some of its members.

Bukola Ogunsanya, the women leader of NAB, said the exhibition was to showcase the skills, entrepreneurial spirit, and determination of members of the association to overcome challenges.

“It is the next sensible step to enable our women to gain access to markets that have, for too long, appeared impenetrable for vision-impaired entrepreneurs,” Ogunsanya said.

The exhibition comes on the heels of the successful NAB kitchen programme, where select women with visual impairments were trained in the art of baking.

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“We believed that this exhibition should follow suit. So, the public is aware that we can be productive despite our blindness,” she said.

“At the heart of this initiative lies a powerful mission to reshape the narrative surrounding women, dispelling the notion of their perceived uselessness and instead highlighting their remarkable capabilities and contributions to society.

“The idea behind the exhibition is to showcase our products and services, fostering a bridge between us and our customers.”

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She lamented that the path to entrepreneurship for visually impaired people is fraught with a lack of capital, difficulty getting customers, and discrimination.

She called on governments to provide tailored programmes, mentorship opportunities, and visually impaired-friendly training initiatives for members of the association.

“They can help us be more productive by patronising our businesses, offering contracts for our products and services, and supporting us in navigating bureaucratic hurdles such as business registration and regulatory compliance,” Ogunsanya said.

She also urged governments to provide waivers for business registration fees and exemptions from levies such as local government taxes, the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control, and Standard Organisation of Nigeria registrations to facilitate the growth and sustainability of visually impaired-owned businesses.

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