CEO, African Sustainable SME Export Trade Solutions (ASSETS)

Ms Shade Bembatoum-Young attended school in Britain and Nigeria. In 1965, she won the nation-wide annual “World Youth Forum” essay competition, organised by the New York Herald Tribune and the Federal Ministry of Education, and became Nigeria’s Delegate at the 1966 World Youth Forum, held in the United States of America (December 1965 – April 1966).

Ms Bembatoum-Young obtained a B.A. Honours degree (French, 2nd Class Upper) from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria in 1971 and a Masters in Translation from the University of Montreal, Canada in 1974.

She worked briefly with the Ministry of External Affairs, Lagos (1974/75) as Conference Translator and Interpreter/Protocol Officer, and covered the preparatory meetings and the Inaugural Summit of ECOWAS in May, 1975, during which the ECOWAS Treaty was signed.

She worked as a Translator at African Groundnut Council Lagos (1975-77), and in November, 1984, after a successful career as a Freelance Translator/Interpreter, she joined the ECOWAS Fund for Cooperation, Compensation and Development, Lome, Togo, as a Translator.

Since Ms Bembatoum-Young returned to Lagos and began providing non-oil export and ECOWAS trade development advisory services in 1990, she has helped to improve export business competitiveness of Nigerian companies such as Cadbury, Tate, UACN, Lever Bros, Nestle, Procter and Gamble, Guinness, etc., by assisting them in the evaluation and implementation of export development strategies, registering products under the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme, or screening Export Expansion Grant Applications.

She has also presented papers at home and abroad, organized and participated in numerous workshops, conducted exploratory and contact promotion missions in the ECOWAS, UK and US markets, and offered export market and product development services, including trade fair preparation and representation.

In January 1992, Ms Bembatoum-Young made her first public presentation: “Export within the ECOWAS Sub-region – A Broad Overview of Problems and Prospects” at the UAC of Nigeria PLC Management Conference held in Cotonou, and in November 1994, she presented a paper entitled; “Effective Intra-African Trade – The Key to Survival: A Focus on the Problematic of Intra-ECOWAS Trade” at the Annual International Conference of Africa Leadership Forum, Lagos.

In January 1996, Ms Bembatoum-Young prepared a paper for UNIFEM Lagos entitled: “Economic Empowerment of the West African Woman – The need to Adopt a Multi-disciplinary, Trade-oriented, Practical Approach, Focusing on Areas in which Women have a Comparative Advantage” which led to her organizing the first UNIFEM Pre-Trade Fair Workshop for Women Entrepreneurs (Lagos, June 1996) and speaking at the 1st Global Women Entrepreneurs’ Trade Fair and Investment Forum (Accra, June1996).

During the past 26 years she has gained recognition as a strong advocate of non-oil and non-traditional export, intra-ECOWAS trade, and of fighting poverty in Africa by creating sustainable livelihoods for African women and men, through the development of Small and Micro-Enterprise Exports, and since 1996 she has assessed and developed the export potential and capacity of numerous small and micro enterprises, mainly on a pro bono basis.

Ms Bembatoum-Young became a member of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 1992, and was appointed a Member of Council in May 2000. In October 2003, she was one of the 200 women from 75 countries chosen as members of the Global Braintrust of Quantum Leaps Inc, (formerly Project Tsunami) a U.S. non-profit, in recognition of her pioneering efforts to assist African women entrepreneurs in accessing the global market. In December 2008, she was installed as a Fellow of the Institute of Export of Nigeria, in recognition of her contribution to the development of the Export Sector in Nigeria.

Other Highlights of Ms Bembatoum-Young’s career include:

1997: UNDP Consultant at the Asia/Africa Forum on the Economic Empowerment of Women, held in Bangkok.
Presentation “Promoting African Women in Decision-making as a means of ensuring their full
participation in fostering Economic Recovery and Sustainable Development in Africa. The need to adopt a
Multidisciplinary, Gender-sensitive approach, focusing on Income-generating Trade Development Strategies”

1999: Appointed External Evaluator, Africa Region, by UNESCO, Paris, for the Evaluation of UNESCO’s 1990-1998
Programme for Crafts Promotion

2005: Appointed by ECOWAS to assist in the preparation of a Manual entitled, “Intra-ECOWAS
Preferential Trade Regime – Basic Principles, Protocols, Regulations and Procedure.”

2005: Presentation “African Women Entrepreneurs Facing the Challenges of Globalisation”, during
WASME (World Association for Small and Medium Enterprises) Convention in Romania

2006: Represented Nigeria at the AGOA Civil Society Forum in Washington D.C. and testified at a Hearing of the
Committee on International Relations, Subcommittee on Africa, of the U.S. House of Representatives, entitled,
“Removing Obstacles for African Entrepreneurs”.

2007: Speaker on Capitol Hill during Public Briefing on the GROWTH Act, “Fighting Poverty with
Common Sense: Investing in Women’s Economic Opportunity” (Women’s Edge Coalition, USA)

2009: Trainer/Mentor, Vital Voices/Exxon-Mobil Foundation Women Artisans Export Development
Programme Training Workshop, in Ghana.

2009: Panelist (Capacity Building) during Civil Society Forum at the 8th AGOA Forum in Nairobi, Kenya, 4-6 August.

2009: Organised “ECOWAS Matters – Focus on Business in ECOWAS”, Two Day Stakeholders Forum, in Collaboration with Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 28-29 September.

May 2010 – April 2012: Facilitator, Trade, Investment, and Competitiveness Policy Commission (TICPC) of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG); Chair TICPC Trade Sub-Committee.

2010: June: NEEP/USAID Consultant: Preparation and Presentation of paper entitled: “Engendering Export in Nigeria” (Nigeria Export Promotion Council Summit on Women in Export Development in Abuja and Lagos)
November 2010 to October 2011: Lagos-based part-time Nigeria Trade Expert, Saana Consulting, UK, Consultants to DFID Nigeria on Trade Policy and Trade Facilitation

2012: Appointment as an Adviser to NECA’s Network of Entrepreneurial Women

2014: As President of Zonta International Club of Lagos 1, organized Maiden Edition of Zonta Resource Exchange Fair for Women, Lagos 8-11 March, in commemoration of International Women’s Day and Zonta Rose Day
February 2015: Mentioned in Huffington Post article by Paul Wisenthal “Nigerian Entrepreneur Maureen Obaweya
Brands Her Luxury Designs with Developing World Market Flavors”

April 2015: Arranged for a group of Women Entrepreneurs whose products have export potential to meet with the Bank of Industry (BoI) Executive Director (SMEs) and his team, to discuss their challenges, and explore
opportunities for accessing finance.

July 2015: Presented lead paper at, “Introductory Workshop on Non-oil Export “, organized in collaboration with
the Business Education Services and Training Unit (BEST) of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
May 2016: Pro bono Presentation on ECOWAS trade entitled: Can Nigerian Women Entrepreneurs Make Formal
Intra- ECOWAS Trade A Reality? AWEP (African Women Entrepreneurs Programme) Nigeria, S.W. Zone


Ms Shade Bembatoum-Young was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation as Director, United Nations Committee, ZONTA International Club of Lagos 1 (1994-96) “for organising a successful celebration of 50 years of United Nations/ZONTA collaboration.”

She was the Club’s Director, Status of Women, and Public Relations Chairperson for ZONTA International, District 18 (Africa) from June 2000-June 2002.

Ms Bembatoum-Young was Director United Nations and International Relations Committee of the Club from May 2008-May 2010, served as Vice President from June 2010 to June 2012, and President of ZONTA International Club of Lagos 1 from June 2012 to June 2014.

She was a Trustee of Community Conservation and Development Initiatives (CCDI 2000) for 15 years, and pioneer Coordinator, Trade and Income Generation, Nigeria Network of Non-Governmental Organisations (NNNGO).

She became a Trustee of NNNGO in 2004. Ms Bembatoum-Young served on the Governing Council of Lagos State University (LASU) and the Management Board of the LASU Staff School from 1994-1998 and was Coordinator of the Lagos Chapter of Educare Trust from 1995-2015. Ms Bembatoum-Young became the Founder/Coordinator of the ASSEED (African Sustainable Small Enterprise Export Development) Artisans Business Network in October, 2008 and has continued to provide pro bono mentoring and coaching services to owners of small and micro enterprises, most of whom are women whose products have export potential.