2021 TEF Entrepreneurship Programme

What it Takes to Support Women Entrepreneurs in Africa

Women entrepreneurs continue to experience a high financial gap, less support and lower profits than their male counterparts. According to publicly available research, women entrepreneurs across sub-Saharan Africa continue to earn lower profits than men (34% less on average).

To address these, most organisations and countries have recognised the need to target the underlying social norms and constraints that hold African women back, prominent among them the uneven burden of childcare and domestic responsibilities, and drive the push for women in more profitable sectors.

Earlier in March, the CEO of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, joined a high-level virtual panel organised by TEF Partners, German development agency (GIZ), to discuss the[NO1] [AN2]  economic and social effects of the pandemic and opportunities to close the digital gender divide while empowering female African entrepreneurs.

“We all know that when you empower a woman, you empower a nation. We all know that the African woman is a major pillar in achieving the economic development of Africa,” said Ifeyinwa at the event.

She explained how the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme prioritised achieving gender inclusivity as a part of its mission since the start of the programme in 2015. Having funded about 3000 women since the start of the programme, this year, the Foundation is working with the European Union, to train, fund, and mentor at least 3000 women for 2021 alone.

The lack of female leaders and representation in top roles are some of the barriers which hinder women from accessing these positions and creating the space for women to lead at the forefront of various sectors in business can inspire the change we want to see on the continent, triggering economic empowerment in a sustainable, gender-inclusive format.

However, this task isn’t only up to one person or organisation, and the role of the public-private sector is critical in achieving this goal. Women’s economic empowerment requires support at a national and international level, and strategies that improve access to healthcare, working conditions and finances.

Update: About The WE4A II (Women Entrepreneurship for Africa, 2024 Application Process)

Following the successful pilot of the WE4A programme in 2021, the Foundation in partnership with the European Union (EU) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) has launched the WE4A II for sustainable and inclusive growth. Application for the WE4A II is ongoing, Read about the WE4A II FAQs here

This partnership is part of the overall IYBA-WE4A programme which will work to strengthen the entrepreneurship ecosystems, access to finance and capacities of women-led MSMEs and start-ups in selected countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The design of the IYBA-WE4A programme seeks to address the existing capacity, business services and funding gaps for its target group -women-led MSMEs and start-ups- and strengthen relevant networks and learning on successful pathways for women entrepreneurs. Overall, the IYBA-WE4A programme in encouraging and sustaining women entrepreneurs and their businesses contributes to the creation of employment and economic prosperity.

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