The Women Entrepreneurship for Africa (WE4A) program is kicking off with 100 women-led startups selected to join its high-impact program focused on startup growth for employment creation. The initiative focuses on empowering underserved communities in Sub-Saharan Africa comprising women, youth, and the informal sector. Participants will receive €10,000 in grant funding and will be given 3 months of technical support through a virtual acceleration program.
WE4A project is an action jointly supported by the European Union (EU), the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), with implementation from the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) and the German Development agency GIZ (E4D program)
European Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, said: “The European Union is proud to support the Women Entrepreneurship for Africa (WE4A) programme. Empowering women and youth unlocks immense creativity and potential to drive growth. It reduces inequality and creates decent jobs across our neighbouring continent. The EU is committed to supporting small businesses, especially those led by women and young people, which are the backbone of Africa’s economy and long-term growth.”
“The Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) is proud of joining forces with the European Union, the GIZ and the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) in the framework of the “Women Entrepreneurship for Africa” initiative (WE4A). This action, implemented in the framework of the OACPS-EU Private Sector Development Strategy, shall contribute to the gradual integration of our Member States into the global economy while empowering our women-led MSMEs. The activities implemented in the framework of WE4A, such as the Accelerator programme being launched in collaboration with SAFEEM, shall ensure the personal development and wellbeing of those targeted while at the same time promoting more prosperous and fair societies in our Member States.” Escipión J. Oliveira Gómez, Assistant Secretary General OACPS
WE4A aims to provide female-led startups with enhanced business capacities, access to funding, market opportunities, knowledge enhancement, and technical training through the joint efforts of the European Union (EU), the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), with implementation from the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) (E4D program). Running the acceleration and program components of WE4A is the Swiss Association for Entrepreneurship in Emerging Markets (SAFEEM), a member of the Seedstars Group.
The program aims to inspire and motivate female entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa by providing acceleration and follow-on growth support to ensure that women entrepreneurs can flourish in the region. Additionally, WE4A is set to make an impact on employment creation in communities through enhanced business capacities, access to formal financial services, and integration into local and regional value chains. Through the program, it is estimated that over 147 net new jobs will be created and an estimated 600 jobs will be secured over the course of the program.
The 100 startups selected will receive €10,000 in grant funding along with 3 months of technical support through a virtual acceleration program designed to help them refine their businesses and scale to the next level. The program, implemented by SAFEEM, will include over 30 workshops, expert presentations, and networking sessions. Startups will also be matched with a dedicated mentor for 1:1 meetings, as well as have EiR support in small groups.
“Over our company’s history, we have seen that access to high-quality entrepreneurial capacity building as well as the right ecosystem connections is key to startup success and growth. We are excited to put our knowledge and community to use, providing a pathway to success for women entrepreneurs all over Sub-Saharan Africa.” Harry Federspiel, Head of Global Programs.
After going through the accelerator, the startups will pitch their solutions in a virtual demo day in front of international investors. Fifteen startups that show the most high-growth potential will then receive follow-on funding of up to €50,000 as well as additional three months of the growth program training designed to take the startups to the next level in their business growth and expansion. It is expected that WE4A will contribute to creating over 1,800 new jobs among women entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa.