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The development follows an announcement by Seedstars last week that it has partnered with the Swiss Association for Entrepreneurship in Emerging Markets (Safeem) and the German Development Agency (GIZ) (the implementing agent for German Cooperation, which financed the support) to add the track to its pitching events.
The organisation said in a statement last Thursday (31 October) that it launched the initiative to achieve an improved gender balance and support the growth of women-led high growth startups in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Seedstars expects that the new track will benefit up to 75 women-led startups
The initiative, it added, also aims to highlight more women entrepreneurs, as well as to:
- Increase and catalyse investments for women-led startups in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Drive more inclusive training opportunities for women-led startups across the continent
- Create a tool kit of best practices that aim at achieving an improved gender balance
Seedstars, Safeem and GIZ hope to increase the number of women finalists and stakeholders across all levels of the Seedstars World Competition. This includes jury members, speakers and investors.
The three organisations also want to increase the number of women-led startups that are closing their fundraising rounds.
As part of the initiative, Seedstars said it will also focus on highlighting more women role models as part of its global series of webisodes covering entrepreneurs from a number of emerging markets.
Seedstars said in its statement that it expects that between 50 and 75 women-led startups will be directly impacted by the Gender Equality Track across pilot countries Mozambique, Mali, Ivory Coast and South Africa.
The organisations said the best women entrepreneurs in each of these countries the will be invited to participate in the Seedstars local event bootcamps.
Women Entrepreneurship Prize
A Women Entrepreneurship Prize will also be awarded as part of the track, with winners set to attend next month’s Seedstars Summit Africa as part of an all-women delegation organised by Safeem.
An additional five supplementary prizes will also be awarded to aspiring women entrepreneurs who will be able to apply through a separate application portal.
The Women Entrepreneurship Prize will consist of an all-inclusive flight, accommodation and VIP access to the regional summit for 10 women-led startups.
At the regional summit, the winners will receive access to : one-on-one mentoring sessions, group mentorship sessions, one-on-one investor meetings, access to expert workshops, as well as full executive access to the main day of the Africa Summit.
To be eligible for the prize, women entrepreneurs must be part of the founding team, should have applied to the local Seedstars World competition or must have pitched during the local event.
Editor’s note (19 February 2020): This article has been updated following a request from Seedstars, to reflect that in the above agreement, the German Development Agency (GIZ) was the implementing agent for German Cooperation, which financed the support.
Featured image: Participant at a Seedstars World event (Supplied)