Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rate of female entrepreneurship in the world at 27 percent, but most of the businesses tend to have no employees and low growth expectations: they are, for the most part, one-woman enterprises oriented to consumers, CNN reports.
African startup competitions and accelerators never attract more than 30 percent female participation and this is in line with Europe and the U.S., according to CNN
CNN spoke to Yasmin Belo-Osagie and Afua Osei, founders of She Leads Africa, a platform offering knowledge and support to female entrepreneurs. They launched a pitch competition aimed at startups operating on the continent and diaspora.
The 2015 Entrepreneur Showcase received 380 applications and is now down to six finalists, who will pitch their businesses in front of some of Africa’s leading executives.
Belo-Osagie and Osei believe that Africa can become a pioneer in how to develop diverse and inclusive ecosystems.
Here’s part of the interview from CNN.
What’s the most interesting detail about the 380 entries you received?
She Leads Africa: That 70 percent of the entrepreneurs had never applied to a pitch competition or startup program before. Even with the dramatic increase of accelerators and programs across the continent, traditional programs still aren’t reaching female entrepreneurs.
What question or request do you receive more frequently from businesses that contact you?
She Leads Africa: Mentorship and finance. There is a real scarcity of authentic mentorship for young people interested in business, and for young women it can be exceptionally challenging due to cultural barriers and a business community that is often very closed off and exclusive.
Regarding finance, accounting and funding options, there is limited education to young entrepreneurs in how to set up a positive banking track record, so many of them don’t know the fundamentals of finance. Without this basic understanding it can be very challenging for anyone to build sustainable businesses.
Read more at CNN.
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