To increase economic inclusion and empowerment of women as well as create more decent jobs in African economies, the GIZ Employment and Skills Development in Africa programme in Uganda, co-implemented by the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), is today, launching the Women Entrepreneurship for Africa (WE4A) project. The beneficiaries of this intervention will be Tony Elumelu Foundation-funded businesses managed and owned or co-owned by Ugandan women entrepreneurs.
This project is funded by the European Union, the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
This is a great opportunity for female business owners because women entrepreneurs in Uganda and the rest of Africa are confronted with barriers that hinder them from succeeding as entrepreneurs. Women-led micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) lack access to financial resources and to professional support. These challenges have intensified because of the Covid-19 outbreak and its economic side effects. Broad action, including the creation of structures of technical assistance for entrepreneurs and access to finance is needed.
“Enabling women-led businesses to integrate into local, regional and international value chains is the goal of the Women Entrepreneurship for Africa project. To achieve this, the project combines the expertise of its different partners to create a pathway to success for women entrepreneurs in Africa,” says Donald Agaba, the E4D Uganda Team Leader.
Somachi Chris-Asoluka, the Director of Partnerships and Communications at TEF explains that “The launch of the Women Entrepreneurship for Africa Programme is in line with the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s mission and commitment to eradicating poverty, driving job creation and transforming the African continent by empowering young African entrepreneurs. As a result of this partnership with the EU Commission and OACPS, over 120 women entrepreneurs will receive the much-needed support in areas of additional funding up to EUR 50,000, access to market opportunities, knowledge enhancement, and technical training.
This programme builds on the immense success of the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme, as our entrepreneurs have successfully created and deployed innovative business solutions to help their communities. Through its proprietary digital platform TEFConnect, the Foundation has supported over 1.5million young Africans and directly funded nearly 11,000 African MSMEs from across all 54 African countries. We are proud to be fostering a new narrative of entrepreneurship on the continent.”
The WE4A project will contribute to closing existing gender gaps in the labour markets, especially in terms of quality of jobs. WE4A will ignite structural changes, as women who become successful entrepreneurs serve as role models in their societies and encourage other women and girls to pursue their choice of career.
Beyond the immediate effects on directly supported businesses, WE4A will improve the support structures for African women entrepreneurs through collaboration with business associations, financial institutions and local service providers. Additionally, the programme will help African MSMEs navigate through the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is expected that because of the WE4A project across Africa 2,400 women-led enterprises’ business capacities will be enhanced. 2,800 additional jobs will be created in women-led enterprises 5,300 existing jobs will be secured and 120 women-led enterprises shall secure second stage financing to further expand their businesses.