100 women-led start-ups get WE4A financial backing
A total of 100 women-led companies have been enrolled in the Women Entrepreneurship for Africa (WE4A) initiative, a 90-day accelerator programme focused on start-up growth for employment creation.
WE4A provides female-led start-ups with enhanced business capacities, access to funding, market opportunities, knowledge enhancement and technical training.
Participants in the current group will receive €10 000 (R175 000) in grant funding and will be given three months of technical support through a virtual acceleration programme.
After going through the accelerator, the start-ups will pitch their solutions during a virtual demo day in front of international investors.
The 15 start-ups that show the most high-growth potential will then receive follow-on funding of up to €50 000 (R875 000), as well as an additional three months of the growth programme training designed to take the start-ups to the next level in their business growth and expansion.
The programme aims to inspire and motivate female entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa by providing acceleration and follow-on growth support to ensure women entrepreneurs succeed on the continent.
Additionally, WE4A says, it is set to make an impact on employment creation in communities through enhanced business capacities, access to formal financial services, and integration into local and regional value chains.
It is estimated that over 147 net new jobs will be created and an estimated 600 jobs will be secured over the course of the programme.
The initiative is a joint effort of the European Union (EU), Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, with implementation from the Tony Elumelu Foundation and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit.
“The European Union is proud to support the Women Entrepreneurship for Africa programme,” says European commissioner for international partnerships Jutta Urpilainen.
“Empowering women and youth unlocks immense creativity and potential to drive growth. It reduces inequality and creates decent jobs across our neighbouring continent. The EU is committed to supporting small businesses, especially those led by women and young people, which are the backbone of Africa’s economy and long-term growth.”
Escipión J Oliveira Gómez, assistant secretary general of OACPS, adds: “This action, implemented in the framework of the OACPS-EU Private Sector Development Strategy, shall contribute to the gradual integration of our member states into the global economy, while empowering our women-led SMEs.
“The activities implemented in the framework of WE4A, such as the accelerator programme being launched in collaboration with the Swiss Association for Entrepreneurship in Emerging Markets, shall ensure the personal development and wellbeing of those targeted, while at the same time promoting more prosperous and fair societies in our member states.”