Seedstars launches program to support women-led startups in Africa with funding, mentorship

Eberechukwu Etike
Seedstars launches woman focused program for African entrepreneurs
Seedstars launches woman focused program for African entrepreneurs

Enhancing Women Entrepreneurship in Africa (EWEA) is a new initiative by Seedstars, a Swiss-based private firm with a mission to improve people’s lives in emerging countries through technology and entrepreneurship.

The Enhancing Women Entrepreneurship in Africa (EWEA) is dedicated to assisting women-led small to medium enterprises (WSMEs), community enablers, and entrepreneurs in African countries like Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Zambia. 

According to a statement obtained by Technext, this program is in partnership with GrowthAfrica and the AFAWA initiative of the African Development Bank. It is designed to give African WSMEs, and community enablers access to mentorship, funding, and visibility while providing long-term and scalable capacity building.

Speaking on the collaboration, Malado Kaba, Director of Gender, Women, and Civil Society at the African Development Bank said,

“We know that aside from access to finance, women entrepreneurs need skills and a supportive business ecosystem. The Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa, a flagship initiative of the African Development Bank, is pleased to work with Seedstars, which was selected as one of ten organizations in our inaugural cohort of Women’s Entrepreneurship Enablers.”

The project’s grants are expected to support 88 organizations reaching 540 WSMEs with access to 6,000 mentoring hours and 90 investors through this program across 11 countries.

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The mission of Seedstar’s EWEA initiative

Seedstars launches EWEA program to support women entrepreneurs in Africa
Seedstars launches EWEA program to support women entrepreneurs in Africa

Women face gender-based challenges, and female entrepreneurs are not exempt from this. But one of the biggest obstacles these female business owners confront is getting capital.

According to statistics, almost 56% of women business owners in Sub-Saharan Africa close their companies due to either lack of profitability or insufficient funding.

It is difficult for these female entrepreneurs to close the estimated $42 billion financing gap for African women. This is one of the main objectives of the Enhancing Women Entrepreneurship in Africa (EWEA) program.

This aspect and many other challenges women experience when running a business have been taken into account by the program. obstacles, such as a lack of a supportive atmosphere for female entrepreneurs to grow and utilize their skills. However, these women are equally as effective and growth-oriented as their male counterparts in terms of potential.

Compared to other entrepreneurship programs in the area, EWEA is different. This is because enablers frequently have a limited capacity to support WSMEs due to a lack of funding, network access, and well-positioned services; however, EWEA aims to overcome this limitation and assist SME women business owners.

Read Also: Zenith Bank partners Seedstars to launch nationwide pitch competition for Nigerian startups

Different programs in the Enhancing Women Entrepreneurship in Africa (EWEA)

Seedstars launches EWEA program to support women entrepreneurs in Africa
Seedstars launches EWEA program to support women entrepreneurs in Africa

There are two programs that African women entrepreneurs can participate in.

WSMEs (women-led small and medium enterprises)

These are aimed towards women who own or own small and medium-sized businesses. Here are the specific requirements you must meet to take part in this program. 

  • You must be based in one of the eligible countries.
  • Have at least one woman as a founding team member.
  • Possess a digital component to your product (such as a mobile app, online store, software as a service, etc.).
  • Show that you’re interested in finding out more about how to prepare for investment.

WSMEs that take part in the EWEA program will be given access to the Investment Readiness Program through the Seedstars Online Academy, as well as mentoring through the Seedstars network.

Community enablers

Enabler beneficiaries are organizations that support entrepreneurs, and for this program, they must meet these requirements to qualify:

  • Organizations that only support WSMEs,
  • Organizations that combine activities geared toward women with gender-neutral activities
  • Gender-neutral ESOs that seek to increase their capacity to assist WSMEs.

Through the Seedstars Online Academy, participating organizations can access mentoring, workshops, and a capacity-building program.

Before December 31st, interested WSMEs and enablers can register here to apply for its mentorship and skill-building workshop series.


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