Female Founders in Health Sector speak on Obtaining Intellectual Property


Intellectual Property (IP) refers to innovations and creations of a group or an individual’s mind, i.e., inventions, designs and the likes. This stands as the idea on which most business initiatives are established. Globally, the World IP Day is celebrated yearly to promote awareness on IP and its important role in our societies.

In commemoration of the 2023 World IP Day – themed “Women and IP: Accelerating innovation and creativity” – the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) office in Nigeria organised an “IP and Women Business Summit” which focused on “Women as Catalysts of Innovation and Creativity in Nigeria: Opportunities and Challenges. This hybrid summit physically held at the Babatunde Oshotimehin Auditorium, United Nations House, Abuja on the 26th of April, 2023.

During this event, female founders and businesswomen across all Nigerian sectors, including the health industry, came together to discuss the global importance of IP towards accelerating creativity, innovation and increased participation of women in their various fields.

Speaking of the inspiring story of her mother and Founder of Emzor Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, Ms. Uzoma Ezeoke – who is currently the Executive Director of the company – emphasised that concerning owing Intellectual Properties, “Founders have to be audacious… because people would often want them to apologise for their vision and downgrade it”. This, she brought to the fore while discussing on the panel titled “Accelerating Female Innovative and Creative Enterprises in Nigeria”.

Another, HealthTech Founder on the panel – Dr. Funmi Adewara, CEO Mobihealth International – spoke about barriers women face in getting their IP registration. Some of these include: high legal and transaction costs (of which she advised founders to explore freelance platforms such as “Upwork” where they can get services at a fraction of the costs); knowledge and information gap, as many women do not know the “how” and “what” is patentable; the need to get IP as soon and possible in correlation to the complicated pathway to actually getting IP. Further informing participants that The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a welcome development to strengthen intra African trademark with provision for a more inclusive policy to bridge the gender gap.

She then spoke about the importance of mentorship, and urged founders and other creative intellects on the final note that, “Perfection must not stand in the way of innovation… you don’t have to have all your i’s dotted, or t’s crossed before starting your entrepreneurial journey”.

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