AfriLabs, in collaboration with the Visa Foundation launched the RevUp Women Initiative on February 21, 2023, in Lagos, Nigeria. The soft launch event had in attendance a cross-section of high level stakeholders in Africa’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.
The RevUp Women Initiative is aligned with AfriLabs’ inclusion strategy and will offer enterprise development intervention to early-stage women-led African startups and SMEs. The initiative is designed to accelerate women-led businesses into profitable and sustainable ventures that can create jobs on the continent, and the first cohort of beneficiaries will be selected from 5 cities across Nigeria, Kenya, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa.
The initiative will provide capacity-building training and mentoring to 500 women business owners during the pilot stage. Additionally, 10 women business owners will be selected to receive a $10,000 investment each through the Catalytic Africa matching fund to grow their businesses.
Research by the World Bank shows that women make up 58% of Africa’s self-employed population and are more likely to become entrepreneurs than men. Yet, according to data from the AfriLabs – Briter Bridges Innovation Ecosystem Report and AfriLabs Needs Assessment report, women-led businesses in Africa continue to face unique challenges that see them perform poorly compared to men-led enterprises. The challenges range from social issues such as challenging social expectations, building a support network, balancing work and family life, and coping with the fear of failure to business-related issues like limited access to markets, finance, technology and network. The fact remains that women-led enterprises in Africa are not receiving enough support, hence the need for this initiative.
Improving Africa’s economy by empowering women-led and women-owned enterprises
Leveraging AfriLabs hubs network in 52 African countries to undertake the following:
- Enterprise development training
- Mentorship through mentorship networks
- Peer-to-peer learning workshops
- Funding through Catalytic Africa
- Sensitise and mobilise stakeholders to create equal growth opportunities for women-led startups and SMEs through RevUp Women Initiative, leading to poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth.
- Additional funding opportunities for women-led startups and SMEs on the continent
- A profound increase in investable and scalable women-led startups and SMEs in Africa.
- More jobs are created by African women-led startups and SMEs.
Projected impact numbers by 2026 (after the pilot phase)
- 50,000 women-led enterprises supported
- $10 million worth of funding awarded
- $100 million worth of investment unlocked through investors
- At least 152,000 jobs will be created in the countries where the initiative is implemented.
The initiative will commence its call for applications on February 27, 2023. Interested parties can apply or partner with the initiative through the project’s website – www.revupwomen.com. The initiative is also open to partnerships from stakeholders who share the vision for African women in the business sphere. These include partnerships in the areas of: additional funding through Catalytic Africa; funding additional countries/cities to implement the program, and/or funding the next cohort of the program. There are also opportunities to join the initiative in a non-funding capacity, such as partnering with AfriLabs to provide technical support to the participants (mentoring, coaching, digital tools) and providing visibility for the initiative through communication channels.
Ajuma Abah (firstname.lastname@example.org)
PR & Communications Manager, AfriLabs