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IFC Announces Selection of 100 Women-led Startup Owners to Participate in the ‘She Wins Africa’ Initiative

IFC has revealed the roster of 100 women-led startup owners selected to join the She Wins Africa initiative, led by IFC. This initiative aims to facilitate access to capital for women-led startups throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The chosen participants will engage in extensive interventions designed to boost their investment readiness, including mentorship, guidance, and networking opportunities with potential investors, industry experts, and fellow entrepreneurs. By prioritizing gender equality and empowering women in business, the program tackles the significant disparity in startup funding, with women founders in Africa receiving only three percent of startup financing, as reported by the World Bank in 2021.

Selected from a pool of almost 3,000 applicants across various sectors like ag-tech, climate-tech, e-commerce, ed-tech, health-tech, and fintech, the 100 participants will gain from the investment-readiness program offered by She Wins Africa. Moreover, the initiative will roll out other programs, including a bootcamp for 200 pre-seed women-led startups, expanding acceleration support for an additional 200 startups in areas where it’s less available, and forming a coalition of funds, venture capital firms, and gender-lens investors to improve financial accessibility for women-led businesses throughout Africa.

Nathalie Akon Gabala, Director of Gender and Economic Inclusion at IFC, underscored the empowerment potential of She Wins Africa, stating, “It’s time for investors to step up and fund women. A robust entrepreneurship ecosystem benefits us all.” Launched at the Africa CEO Forum in Côte D’Ivoire in 2023, She Wins Africa represents the second initiative of its kind, following the success of IFC’s She Wins Arabia program, which has supported 170 women entrepreneurs and over 35 Entrepreneur Support Organizations (ESOs) in North Africa and the Middle East since 2021. This ongoing commitment by IFC highlights the urgency to bridge the gender gap in startup financing and cultivate a vibrant entrepreneurial landscape.

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