With the rise of technology innovation in Africa, multiple sectors such as energy, agriculture, finance, and healthcare are undergoing rapid changes. We’re starting to see African solutions that have global applications in areas such as digital payments and drone delivery for instance. Africa’s population currently consists of 50% men and 50% women. 1 There is a growing conversation on the disparity in the number of men and women in technology and a growth in interventions to combat the ‘leaky pipeline’ 2phenomenon that sees women deviating from careers in STEM due to structural barriers such as poor support networks for childcare amongst others.
In 2019, we launched the Women in Business program, to grow the number of socially and economically empowered women who run sustainable businesses working in the technology sector in Kenya.
The conversation on supporting more women in Technology is crucial, but just as crucial, if not more so, is the need for female entrepreneurs to be supported in leveraging technology in their businesses regardless of the sector. People are often less likely to build solutions in industries or sub-industries they have no relationship with. Given that a majority of women in Africa run non-technology businesses, there is currently a case to support women-led businesses that will benefit from the application of technological innovation.
Against this background, CcHub and iHub will implement the 2nd edition of the Women in Business program as one that not only focuses on women-led technology businesses, but women-led businesses as a whole, and how these women can better leverage technology to scale their solutions in the African market. This program will focus on businesses in Nigeria and Kenya with the aim to:
- Enhance the ways in which women-led businesses leverage technology to better serve their market
Our Design team will support program participants in assessing and improving their product-market fit, as well as strengthening their value proposition. This will highlight opportunities for the embedding of technology in their processes.
- Build the capacity of women-led businesses to secure capital
Training from our internal team will support program participants toward being investor ready. We will create avenues for the women to engage with investors through a showcase and a demo day at the end of the program. There is also the opportunity for the participants to get investment from CcHub/iHub via our investment vehicles.
- Catalyse the expansion efforts of women-led businesses in the African market
From cohort 1, we identified a need to support participants in their efforts to expand into other African markets. Cohort 2 will see us take a more intentional approach in providing participants with knowledge and strategies around expansion, as well as relevant introductions through our networks.
- Build the capacity of female entrepreneurs to attract, develop and retain quality talent
This has always been a big challenge for startups on the continent. We will be tackling this in our program by leveraging our People team’s expertise and creating linkages to quality talent- both through our graduate internship program as well as partnerships with organisations that train tech talent.
- Create access to market opportunities
The women will have the opportunity to increase their market share through engagement with corporate executives and industry advisors in our extensive network. This will be done through multiple ways including a matchmaking process to give participants continuous support throughout the program. We believe that access to industry-relevant expertise will provide key insights and introductions that will propel the participants and their businesses forward.
- The use of technology to achieve a strategically differentiated business that speaks to the heart of customer needs.
- An ability to speak investor language and leverage sound financial understanding of your business to secure capital and partnerships.
- Support to expand your business across multiple geographical markets.
- Knowledge on how to attract, develop and retain a strong team.
- Access to a robust network of investors, corporate executives and software developers to help scale your business.
This program will bring together female entrepreneurs, software developers, investors, SMEs, corporates and industry experts across multiple sectors.
The criteria for participation for the program include:
- Women-led business interested in leveraging technology to scale their businesses
- Registered, with operations in Kenya or Nigeria
- The strong (well-rounded) founding team, working full-time on the business
- Businesses with proven traction in the market (e.g. customers, revenue)
- Scalable businesses that meet a real need.
Prospective applicants can apply at here.
On July 31st, the organizers will host a webinar to answer questions from applying entrepreneurs.