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AWS announces funding boost for women founders in Africa
Tiffany Johnson, the global business development manager at AWS Startups, this afternoon launched the new Fem-Tech Startup Innovation Challenge aimed at empowering women founders in Africa.
The announcement about the challenge took place at AfricArena’s Johannesburg Summit where Johnson spoke about the need to close the gender gap for women founders through “gender-lens investing”.
Johnson highlighted the fact that women face significant challenges in accessing funds, particularly in Africa, where only $1 is invested in women for every $25 directed toward men within the start-up sphere. Despite these challenges, women make significant contributions to the continent’s GDP, with over half of the entrepreneurs being women.
To address this imbalance, AWS Startups is turning its focus on women-led startups in Africa, with the launch of the Fem-Tech Startup Innovation Challenge. The challenge is designed to facilitate innovation, networking, and investment opportunities for women-led start-ups across the continent.
Speaking about the challenge, Johnson said, “Supporting more women entrepreneurs will not only foster diversity and inclusion but also contribute to economic growth and social development across the continent.”
She urged women founders to apply to the challenge, which aims to showcase and celebrate their accomplishments, provide a platform to pitch their ideas to an esteemed panel of judges, and facilitate networking opportunities to connect with investors, mentors, and other resources.
Christophe Viernaud, the chief executive and founder of AfricArena, said, “Less than 3% of venture capital funding goes to African-led female tech businesses. Yet, research shows they are more resilient and more successful than most.”
Viernaud expressed his excitement at joining forces with the AWS Startups team under the leadership of Johnson to close the gender gap and change the funding and investment story for African women-led technology start-ups.
Experts believe the launch of the Fem-Tech Startup Innovation Challenge represent a significant step in addressing the gender imbalance in the African start-up ecosystem. By empowering more women founders and providing them with access to the resources they need to succeed, AWS Startups and AfricArena are helping to create a more diverse and vibrant startup ecosystem across the continent.
Applications for the Fem-Tech Startup Innovation Challenge are now open. Women founders are encouraged to visit the AfricArena website to apply and join the challenge.