Women entrepreneurs in the tech sector in Africa can tap an increasing number of options when it comes to getting funding for their business.
From angel investor groups to acceleration programmes, to organisations providing grants, here’s a list of a few options for African women to try, when looking to grow their tech startup.
Dazzle Angels: Early-stage female angel investors in tech enabled businesses co-founded by women with a particular interest in the verticals of edtech, healthtech, fintech, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), agritech, tourism and Internet of Things (IoT). Dazzle Angels in based in South Africa and its typical investment size is between $25 000 and $50 000.
Rising Tide Africa: An early-stage investor in digital and tech startups that has a prime focus on the enrichment of the female economy in Africa. Rising Tide Africa functions as part of a Global movement of The Rising Tide Programme for Africa. It constitutes a group of women angel investors harnessing their power, network, passion and capital to positively impact and actively create a New Africa. Based in Nigeria, it invests between $50 000 and $500 000.
Afri Trust Group: Early stage gender-lens investing group committed to investing in Africa’s women entrepreneurs encompassing enterprise development, and access to markets and trade facilitation. The organisation is based in South Africa.
Women Investment Club Senegal: Women’s Investment Club targets businesses directed by women in Senegal, with the goal of participating in the economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs by providing the capital they need to grow their businesses.
Enygma Ventures: Enygma Ventures is a unique purpose-driven investment fund led by award-winning entrepreneurs with 40 years of combined experience growing and scaling businesses. Based in South Africa, it invests between $500 000 and $1-million.
Khula Lula: A venture capital innovator, creating access to micro-financing and scale for African women tech startups. Based in South Africa, Khula Lula provides investment of between $10 000 and $25 000.
Graça Machel Trust Investment Fund: An investment fund, a pan-African investment vehicle to accelerate women’s economic empowerment. The fund is headquartered in Kenya and provides investment of between $50 000 and $1-million.
Alitheia IDF: Alitheia IDF is a pioneering private equity fund that identifies, invests in, and grows SMEs led by gender-diverse teams to achieve solid financial returns and tangible social impact for communities in Africa. The organisation provides investment of between $100 000 and $500 000 and has offices in Nigeria and South Africa.
Accelerators and incubators
I’M IN: Based in Johannesburg, the I’M IN Accelerator facilitates funding and opportunities for black owned, high growth tech startups, and equips them to compete in the #SouthAfrican #tech sector. The accelerator also has a dedicated women only cohort. The accelerator typically invests between $50 000 and $100 000.
SheLeads Africa: The She Leads Africa (SLA) Accelerator is a four-month programme designed to identify, support and fund the next generation of Nigeria’s brightest female entrepreneurs. The accelerator invests up to $5000 in startups.
SheTrades Initiative: Under the umbrella of the SheTrades Initiative, the Swiss based SheTrades Invest is dedicated to supporting fruitful relationships between investors and women entrepreneurs in developing markets.
GreenHouse Lab: GreenHouse Lab is a three-month accelerator focused solely on early-stage, female-led or female focused technology startups across Africa, as well as African run start-ups domiciled overseas with products that are scalable in African markets. The Nigerian based accelerator invests between $50 000 and $100 000 in startups that participate in the accelerator.
Standard Chartered Women in Technology Incubator: Standard Chartered Bank and @iBizAfrica, Strathmore Business School in Kenya have partnered to create the Standard Chartered Women in Tech Incubator. This supports female-led entrepreneurial teams, Providing them with training, mentorship and seed funding. The incubator provides grant funding of between $5000 and $10 000.
Access Bank Womenpreneur Pitch-a-ton: In 2006, Access Bank began a journey into the world of women and Banking on Women. After working through the Gender Empowerment Movement to invest in women for eight years, the programme evolved into a robust plan to provide women with banking solutions that meet their diverse career and lifestyle requirements named The ‘W’ Initiative. The Nigerian competition offers prize money of up to $10 000 for winners.
African Women’s Development Fund: The African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF), which is headquartered in Ghana, is a grant-making foundation that supports local, national and regional women’s organisations working towards the empowerment of African women and the promotion and realisation of their rights. The AWDF provides grants of up to $50 000.
The African Women Leadership Fund (AWLF): Established by the Economic Commission for Africa under the leadership of the Deputy Secretary-General of the UN and the Chairperson of the African Union, the AWLF is an innovative impact investment fund which aims to accelerate the growth of women-owned and operated funds and companies across Africa. It provides grant funding.
Women Fund Tanzania: Women Fund Tanzania is a registered trust and the first women’s rights fund in the country both as a movement builder, and as an activist and feminist organisation. The organisation provides grants of up to $50 000.
Miss.Africa Seed Fund: This Kenyan programme backs successful activities that are currently supporting women and girls in STEM, and through this effort, identify how to support scalability and impact. It provides grants of up to $5000.
USADF: The US African Development Foundation (USADF) invests directly in community enterprises, providing seed capital and local technical support to early-stage agriculture, off-grid energy, and youth-led enterprises in Africa. It provides grants of up to $250 000.
Invest2Impact: The Invest2Impact Competition seeks to support 100 women-led businesses in East Africa with funding, mentoring and networking opportunities. The competition awards US$20 thousand to a business that is working to address climate change and promote a green economy, among three other categories. The Rwandian-based organisation provides grants of between $10 000 and $25 000.
Wheat Trust: The Women’s Hope Education and Training Trust (Wheat) was founded in South Africa in 1998 to support women-led organisations, through promoting a culture of giving. Grants are given by Wheat to uniquely skilled women who would otherwise not have access, enabling the creation of their own economic and social justice strategies, and to become sustainable income earners. The organisation provides grants of up to $100 000.
Urgent Action Fund-Africa: Urgent Action Fund-Africa provides rapid response grants and technical support to women’s rights organisations, women’s human rights defenders and activists who identify strategic and time sensitive opportunities to advance women’s rights in Africa. Based in Kenya, the organisation provides grants of up to $100 000.
Awief: The African Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (Awief) is a pan-African women economic empowerment organisation which nurtures and actively promotes women innovation and entrepreneurship through its development programmes, accelerators, and networking events, including the annual Awief conference, exhibition and awards. The organisation, which is based in Nigeria and South Africa, gives out grants of up to $5000.
The Cartier Women’s Initiative: The Cartier Women’s Initiative is an international business programme created in 2006 by Cartier in partnership with Insead Business School to identify, support and encourage businesses led by women entrepreneurs. The organisation is based in France and provides grants of between $25 000 and $100 000.
Fonds pour les femmes Congolaises: The Fund For Congolese Women funds small local organizations in the early stages of their conception and we fund grassroots organisations which do not have access to financial support from donors. The fund provides grants of up to $5000.
This list was originally compiled by development advisory consultant Vuyolwethu Dubese. Find the original list here.
Dubese currently serves as an associate in impact acceleration at Impact Amplifier and as a partner for the UNDP’s YAS platform for Africa’s youth entrepreneurial ecosystem aimed at supporting the development and growth of youth entrepreneurship. Find her at www.vdubese.com.
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Featured image: Women pictured at a recent Rising Tide Africa event (Facebook)