• Sunday, July 21, 2024
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AfriLab, Visa Foundation move to support female tech entrepreneurs with $100,000

Afrilab and Visa funding

AfriLab in partnership with Visa Foundation seeks to help narrow the funding gap in female led businesses across Africa with $100,000 dollars through the RevUp Women Programme.

At the end of the programme, 10 women will be funded with $10,000 each through the matching fund to grow their businesses.

This was announced at the launch of the RevUp Women Initiative event in Lagos on February 21, 2023.

According to research by the World Bank, women make up 58 percent of Africa’s self-employed population and are more likely to become entrepreneurs than men.

At 26 percent, Sub-Saharan Africa is home to the world’s highest percentage of women entrepreneurs – according to the MasterCard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE) 2021.

In 2022 female-led and female-founded ventures attracted less funding with female-led startups raising only four percent (188 million dollars) of funding in Africa according to Africa’s The Big Deal report.

Read also: Visa pledges $1bn to Africa’s payment ecosystem in next five years

The keynote speaker Anino Emuwa, founder of the African Women CEOs Network said that entrepreneurship is difficult and particularly difficult for women who face other barriers and people in the government and financiers and investors need to work on business environments and financing so that businesses run by women can thrive.

“First thing is that female entrepreneurship in Africa is really vibrant but there are so many challenges that keep the businesses small. Some of those are unconscious biases, some cultural, lack of finances, support and network can help keep these businesses running,” she said.

She mentioned that finance isn’t the only major need of female entrepreneurs.

“Asides finance it is necessary to have an ecosystem where they can develop their skill and access to knowing how to pitch, networks of influence and contact and knowledge of knowing other sectors that have higher value impact and most especially to have tech as an enabler for growth of their entrepreneurship businesses.

By supporting female led businesses we look at growing employment in Africa,”she said.

Briter Bridges Innovation Ecosystem Report and AfriLabs Needs Assessment report showed that women-led businesses in Africa continue to face unique challenges that see them perform poorly compared to men-led enterprises. The challenges range from social issues such as challenging social expectations, building a support network, balancing work and family life, and coping with the fear of failure to business-related issues like limited access to markets, finance, technology and network

COO Ajibola Odukoya-Chief Operating officer Afrilabs said “A woman is a multiplier, if you train a woman you train a generation, so we project that the initiative would create 60,000-100,000 jobs by women-led enterprise

Anna Ekeledo, CEO Afrilab spoke on how important female mentorship is important to female-led businesses.

“What we’ve seen time and time again is the biases that women entrepreneurs face on the continent, challenges like access to funding, access to the right set of training and data also shows that the best mentors for women businesses are also women who have threaded that path and built businesses there because they understand the challenges that women face,” she said.

She said that to build the economic situation on the continent and create jobs, it is important to be inclusive of the impact through women business in the society.

The initiative will commence its call for applications on February 27, 2023, the organisations noted.