Every day is a great day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, but International Women’s Day is an even better time to recognize the impact of women and reflect on the progress yet to be made. Women entrepreneurs are a vital component of economic development, especially in Africa, where women-owned businesses make a significant contribution to job creation and poverty reduction.
The Tony Ermel Foundation is a leading philanthropic organization committed to empowering entrepreneurs in Africa and transforming their businesses and communities in their efforts to promote women’s inclusion and economic empowerment across the continent. I went cautiously. Since the launch of the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Program in 2015, over 7,000 female entrepreneurs have benefited from the program’s business her training, mentoring, access to resources and networks, and $5,000 non-refundable seeds. received her capital. This article describes the challenges and opportunities facing women entrepreneurs in Africa and the Tony Ermel Foundation’s efforts to support and promote women’s entrepreneurship.
The state of women entrepreneurship in Africa:
Women’s entrepreneurship is on the rise in Africa, with more women starting and running businesses than ever before. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) reports that women in sub-Saharan Africa are more likely than women in any other part of the world to become entrepreneurs.
Despite their significant contribution to economic growth in Africa, women entrepreneurs face several challenges, including limited access to funding, training and markets. Research shows that a sub-Saharan African woman is 20 percent less likely than men to have a bank account and 17 percent less likely to have access to formal credit. This barrier in access to finance makes it difficult for women to start and grow businesses.
Based on our direct engagement with African women entrepreneurs, we have compiled a list of some of the challenges they shared with us:
- Access to funds: African women entrepreneurs often struggle to raise funds to start or expand their businesses. This is due to various factors such as lack of collateral, limited financial literacy and discrimination. Studies show that women are less likely than men to receive loans, and even if they do, they receive less money and higher interest rates.
- Access to markets and networks: Women may not have the same access to marketing and networking opportunities as men, which can make it difficult to establish business connections and partnerships.
- Cultural and social barriers: African women often face cultural and social barriers that make it difficult to start a business or grow a business. These barriers include traditional gender roles, restricted mobility, and discrimination. Women are also often expected to prioritize family responsibilities over work, making it difficult for them to dedicate the time and resources necessary to build a successful business.
- Work-family balance: African women often have to balance work and family responsibilities. This can make it difficult to dedicate the time and resources needed to start and grow a successful business. may limit your participation in networking events, workshops, and training programs.
Opportunities for women entrepreneurs in Africa
Despite the challenges, there are many opportunities for women entrepreneurs in Africa. Here are some examples:
- Agriculture: Agriculture is the backbone of many African economies, and women are the primary agricultural workers in many communities. Women entrepreneurs can take advantage of this by starting businesses that support the agricultural sector such as food processing, packaging and distribution.
- technology: The technology industry is growing rapidly in Africa, led by start-ups from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. Women entrepreneurs can take advantage of this by starting technology businesses that address local challenges, such as mobile payment systems and e-commerce platforms.
- sightseeing: Africa is a popular tourist destination, attracting millions of tourists each year. Women entrepreneurs can start businesses that serve tourists, such as restaurants, hotels, and tour companies.
Tony Elumelu Foundation and Women Entrepreneurship:
The Tony Elumelu Foundation is committed to advancing women entrepreneurship in Africa by providing training, mentorship and access to funding. The foundation’s flagship program, the Tony Ermel Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme, has supported more than 18,000 of her entrepreneurs across Africa since its inception in 2015, with a particular focus on women entrepreneurs.
The TEF Entrepreneurship Program offers selected entrepreneurs a comprehensive training program covering basic business skills such as financial management, marketing and sales. Participants also receive mentorship and access to a network of successful entrepreneurs and investors.
In addition to the Entrepreneurship Programme, the Tony Ermel Foundation has launched several initiatives aimed at promoting female entrepreneurship in Africa. Women Entrepreneurship in Africa (WE4A) A program aimed at increasing access to funding, market opportunities, knowledge enhancement and technical training for women entrepreneurs in Africa.
Impact and Success Stories:
The efforts of the Tony Ermel Foundation to support women entrepreneurs in Africa have produced remarkable results. Since the launch of the Entrepreneurship Program, women entrepreneurs have made up approximately 40% of program beneficiaries.
Below are some of the women entrepreneurs in the TEF Alumni Network who are making an impact in their communities.
Princess Adeinka Tekena runs.”happy coffeeis an indigenous seed-to-cup Nigerian coffee company that improves the consumption and production of locally grown coffee by bringing fresh brew coffee to the average Nigerian’s cup. Currently, 90% of the coffee consumed in Nigeria is imported, so the Nigerian Roasthi coffee market creates opportunities within his US$681.6 million coffee sector. The Nigerian coffee market is projected to reach USD 4.62 billion (retail value), growing at a CAGR of 18.13% annually from 2020 to 2025. In 2015, a $5,000 seed grant allowed him to successfully design 10 of his market-fit coffee products, establish three Coffee Experience Centers, serve over 30,000 cups of coffee, and host a coffee festival. developed. All earnings are up over his $80,000 (cumulative). Over the next 5 years, our goal is to increase revenue to his $2 million and expand our portfolio to his 5 cities in Nigeria and his 2 countries, while at the same time joining the Coffee His Value his chain. to escalate the situation.
Chioma Ogbudimkpa runs a fashion business known as red button We focus on producing workwear for professional women, fusing African aesthetics, eco-friendly materials and art from around the world. In all its creations, the brand focuses on African stories, strong women and sustainability. African women are vibrant, so designers balance color and texture to express strength and sophistication. Essentially, Redbutton aims to bring unusual design innovation and contemporary African culture to the world. The brand is tailored in Nigeria and sold worldwide through redbuttonng.com and other local and international retailers.
Jocelyn Agbo says,farm on wheels, a social enterprise working with smallholder farmers in hard-to-reach communities in Nigeria. In 2017, we started working with smallholder farmers and community leaders, engaging them in the model development process through surveys and town hall meetings. This has allowed us to come up with a business model where small farmers in rural areas are employed within their communities and provide them with the agricultural resources they need to become economically empowered. In 2017, they trained a small number of farmers in their communities, and by 2018, the number of farmers trained in these communities was huge. This allows access to real farmers in these communities who have benefited from training programs, extension services and market links.
Founded by Lucy Mary Atieno Ecopad Uganda It was born as a solution to create a $4 reusable and affordable menstrual pad that lasts up to a year. They are also committed to training senior teachers of girls, men and women in menstrual health care and reproductive health. The business idea was born out of her concern for a female student who misses her 4-5 days of school in a month due to lack of affordable menstrual products in Uganda (IRC 2013).
Charity Nyakundi is another African entrepreneur making big strides in the world of art, fashion and design.her business name Polabe Designs (meaning “clean”) and she deals in artisanal clothing. They design clothes and make clothes and fabrics themselves.
Above all, these women are doing incredibly well in various business sectors, creating employment, social and economic impact in various communities.
Women’s entrepreneurship is a vital component of Africa’s economic development and the Tony Ermel Foundation is a leader in promoting and supporting women entrepreneurs across the African continent. Through a variety of programs and initiatives, the Foundation breaks down the barriers that limit women’s access to finance, training and markets, helping them create opportunities to start and grow successful businesses.
On this International Women’s Day, let us recognize the achievements of African women entrepreneurs and continue to support their efforts to drive economic growth and development.
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