To support the unique needs of early-stage and high growth-oriented women-led ventures in Africa, the fourth cohort of the AWIEF Growth Accelerator Programme kick-started Monday 2nd August with 20 female entrepreneurs that have been selected from different sectors in South Africa.
The virtual launch of the AWIEF Growth Accelerator Programme started with the welcoming words of Irene Ochem, founder and CEO of AWIEF and Nirmala Reddy, Senior Manager Enterprise Development at Nedbank. Irene explained AWIEF’s drive to close the gender gaps in entrepreneurship and to help female entrepreneurs become investment ready. Nirmala congratulated the 20 female entrepreneurs for their selection, or as she called it: the first part of their business journey. “You have what it takes, otherwise you wouldn’t be selected. See this programme as a life-changing experience: a one-stop-shop to all the resources you need, to take your business to the next level. It’s up to you to actively tap into all the great opportunities this programme offers you.” The one-hour digital launch also included a short introduction of all the female entrepreneurs, mentors and experts and an overview of the accelerator programme.
Access to finance is the most cited challenge to the growth of women-owned businesses in Africa. Bankability and investment readiness are major obstacles to attracting business finance. The AWIEF Growth Accelerator is a three-month business skills development programme, designed to support the unique needs of early-stage and high growth-oriented women-led ventures with business modelling, growth strategy training, corporate advisory, mentorship, networks, and access to strategic partnerships. The accelerator provides capital-raising support for growth, scale, and sustainability. It builds women’s entrepreneurial leadership capacity, connects them with appropriate sources of capital and helps them scale.
Supported 100 women founders
Since 2017, more than 100 early-growth-stage women founders have gone through the accelerator programme. For the 2021 cohort, 20 female entrepreneurs have been selected from sectors including: technology, agribusiness, financial services, manufacturing, health, education, tourism & hospitality, creative industries, and renewable energy.
Just like the previous three cohorts, this fourth cohort of the AWIEF’s Growth Accelerator Programme is also sponsored by Nedbank.