• Friday, June 14, 2024
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Experts harp on ways women-led businesses can access more funding

Experts harp on ways women-led businesses can access more funding

Experts in the digital and financial space have hinted on ways that women can access useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their business needs.

Speaking during the recent 2022 Forbes Leading Women Summit, Odunayo Eweniyi, co-panelist who is also the co-founder of Piggyvest, a digital savings platform stated that there are myths that women are not building.

Eweniyi insisted that she, as well as so many other women are building but the problem lies with discovery as a lot of partners are skewed towards funding the male-led startups in the sector.

She went on to explain that a lot of VCs have a male-dominated portfolio and they would argue that this is due to a lack of awareness of female startups in need of funding. Eweniyi however did not quite agree with this notion as she believes that VCs need to put in the work to seek out female-owned companies to fund, especially at the early stage.

“Women need that belief capital, same as men, to be able to take these ideas off the ground,” Eweniyi said. It is important that female-led startups are able to access funding at the early stage, as this would help these women founders catch up on their male counterparts at subsequent seed rounds.

Eweniyi also called for a need to investigate the biases causing VCs to fund male-led companies over their female counterparts as data shows that female-led businesses are performing at the same level as the male-led businesses. “Not giving women funding is simply just a bad thing because those businesses are not underperforming”, she added.

Also speaking at the summit, Dayo Ademola, managing director at Branch Nigeria, a leading digital finance app providing a full suite of financial services such as loan and payment solutions to individuals, shed light on the large number of women trying to access funding for their business.

“A large proportion of the loan applications Branch receives are unsurprisingly from women who need working capital for their micro businesses,” she revealed.

The summit explored the gaps in accessing funding for female-led business and attempted to raise solutions on what needs to be done.

Speaking on partnerships, Ademola advised women who are looking to grow their businesses and careers to find a mentor.

According to Ademola, “You invest in what looks like you and so we need more women-led angel investors and venture capitalists. I think that as human beings, we are geared towards emulating what we see and what we believe to be the pinnacle of achievements.” This would ensure women businesses get as much capital as needed.

Read also: Women in business: Ayo Olojede

In recent times, there have been a lot of initiatives for financial inclusion in almost every sector of the Nigerian economy ranging from small scale farmers to petty traders. Financial inclusion generally calls for individuals and businesses to have access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs, however, not much has been done about creating access to funding for women-led businesses.

Financial technology is a well-funded field but not much of it goes to female-founded outfits. This is evident in the abysmal 3.2 percent funding that was awarded to female-led startups out of the whopping 3 billion dollars attracted by Nigerian fintechs in the year 2021.

In an attempt to change this anomaly, Ademola has championed the chart for Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors to direct more funding towards female-led startups.

As one of the leading finance platforms, Branch leverages on an innovative outlook, as well as today’s digital solutions at their disposal, in creating access to a wide range of services for customers. Indeed, Branch continues to prioritise the provision of real solutions to meet up with the growing demands of the dynamic financial environment, for all categories of people, including women.