Earlier on, we wrote on the challenges women in business and fund managers face in Sub Saharan Africa. Aida and Lindeka shed a light on the barriers and challenges faced by women fund managers in Sub-Saharan Africa and the importance of gender equality and diversity in the fund management space.
Women led businesses face numerous challenges in building sustainable businesses. Their businesses receive less than 7% of Private Equity Fund which is a trillion dollar business. Women have been historically disadvantaged when it comes to access to business opportunities and every boost inform of funding, capacity building, mentorship is welcomed.
It is unfortunate that only 37% of women have bank accounts, as opposed to 48% of men in SubSaharan Africa, a gap that has widened over the years.
We also need to create inclusive programs that target women to help them increase the quality of their knowledge as well as access to funding so we have women who are well equiped to buld sustainable businesses.
On this third and final episode, Aida and Lindeka spend some time on how women fund managers can overcome some of the barriers we touched on before and the role of financial institutions in ensuring more women have access to financial services and the strategies that Visa has employed to ensure female representation in the fund management space.
Let us look at what solutions VISA offering to tackle the challenges that women have presented.
Visa is one of the financial institutions that has committed to level the playing ground when it comes to women led businesses and their ability to access funds, as well as increase the number of women fund managers in the continent.
Visa’s She’s Next Program, is giving a grant to women fund managers across Sub saharan Africa through Africa Women Impact Fund will ensure that business owners are able to focus on growing their businesses.
Apar from the grant, here are other interventions by VISA:
Access to Technology
Over the last three years, VISA has helped many businesses get online. With the world moving digitally, many women will benefit to move their business online, have a getway in payments, how to access digital payments, developing forums to educate them on how to get their business online flawlessly.
VISA has developed an easy way to transact where consumers don’t have to use cards everyday. The innovation they have is using your phone, and turning it into an acceptance device at a low cost to both the seller and the customer.
Practical business skills
VISA has been giving small businesses tools to grow their business. They have different modules where an entrepreneur can learn how to manage finances, how to market their products as well as scale.
Standard Bank has also done quite well when it comes to offering solutions to businesses how they want it and when they want it. Lindeka explains that during the pandemic, they had to walk together with entrepreneurs to ensure they kept their lights on and from this, they learned to listen to entrepreneurs and structure their products to fit them.
With the She’s Next grant, Standard Bank will work with entrepreneurs , know their needs and design a practical solution for them to ensure they access finance and they are also able to pay back in a well structured way and time too. The bank will also be offering networking opportunities in terms of events for women as well as helping with operational support.
The objective is to grow women led businessses in the continent, as well as increase the number of women in the fund management space.
Aida Diara reminds us that this is a journey. Both Visa and Standard Bank are intentional in shaping the landscape where women entrepreneurs are involved. Acknowledging that there is a challenge is the first step. Working on the solutions together with the women entrepreneurs is the next step.
Last words of advise for women entrepreneurs:
Believe that you can grow
Knock on doors of the fund managers
Leverage access to data
Dont be afraid to ask for guidance
Have a look at the last episode of the She’s Next Series.