Putting money in the hands of women entrepreneurs

Visa announces grant to help women fund managers advance their business

What does it take to have money in the hands of women? How will the landscape look like when women sit at the table and decide how capital will reach every other woman in business?

A quick poll online revealed that the one thing women in business need is funding. Access to capital has been a challenge to a lot of women entrepreneurs. Raising capital is one of the biggest challenges for women entrepreneurs with banks requiring collateral and investors dismissing women for a number of reasons.

Globally, when it comes to accessing investment, women-led businesses account to only 2% and that goes up to 15% when they team up with a male co-founder.

From the above data, you can see that the playing field is not levelled when it comes to funding women. It is from this that Visa in collaboration with Standard Bank has introduced a grant towards the African Women Impact Fund.

Access to funding: This is easily the biggest challenge women face. Partly because it’s one felt across the spectrum in this country. Most VCs and financial institutions do not show enough confidence in women’s business. They lend to established or proven ventures leaving out the many who want to actualize their dreams.

It’s not that straightforward though. Most of the startups VCs prefer, like tech, do not attract a lot of women. So women are locked out of funding, foremost, by the niche they pick out. How is this to be solved, short of asking women to abandon their passions?

We underestimate that old mantra, “be so good they can’t ignore you.” Do come up with an awesome business plan and have a supreme team when setting up your venture. Just like expertise, nothing substitutes preparedness. Also, do take advantage of the women-friendly sources of financing. This includes women-targeted funds and finance institutions

The grant to the AWIF is an extension of the She’s Next program, a global advocacy program for women-owned businesses that has been expanded to Sub-Saharan Africa to further champion and strengthen African women business owners as they build, sustain, and advance their businesses.

For most of us in business, access to funding will give us the freedom to create more, acquire talent as well as have enough stock and cashflow in the business. The contant worry of lack of sufficient funds has put a strain on creativity, talent acquisition as well as proper marketing of the business.

Did you know that out of the $69.1 trillion global financial assets, only less than 1.3% of that is managed by women and people of colour?  With African women accounting for just 7.6% of private equity and women-led businesses receiving only 7% of Private Equity (PE) and Venture Capital (VC) in emerging markets, this highlights the opportunities that exist to reduce the current gender gaps.

The economic empowerment of women is essential to raising Africa’s economic output and creating sustainable jobs, especially within the small enterprises that drive growth on the continent,” Lindeka Dzedze Head of Strategic Partnerships at Standard Bank Group

Check out the first episode of ‘She’s Next empowered by Visa’ in conversation with Standard Bank with Aida Diara, Senior Vice President and Head of Sub Saharan, Visa together with Lindeka Dzedze, Global Markets Head, Strategic Partnerships, Standard Bank Group.