According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2014 Global Report, Africa leads the world in the number of women starting businesses. While Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rate of female entrepreneurship across the world (27 percent), the typical business profile is a consumer-oriented, one-woman enterprise with no employees and low expectations for future growth.
That’s why She Leads Africa was created. The company’s website explains that female entrepreneurs face four key barriers in Africa—education, financing, stereotypes and limitations. She Leads Africa was launched in May 2014 to serve as a platform to invest in Africa’s most promising female entrepreneurs. This social enterprise initiative provides the most talented female entrepreneurs across the continent with access to the knowledge, networks and financing needed to build and scale strong businesses.
Yasmin Belo-Osagie, 26, a management consultant focusing primarily on developing growth strategies for local and international corporate entities, and Afua Osei, 28, a management consultant advising large scale public and private sector organizations on strategy and operations are the co-founders of the innovative company. Their goal is to jump-start female entrepreneurs from small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to pan-African industry leaders.
She Leads Africa hosts programs such as Diaspora Demo Day. Held in November, it is one of the largest gatherings of investors and entrepreneurs from all across the globe who have their eyes locked on the innovative companies that are coming out of Africa. Osei told VentureBurn that a lot of people don’t know how to turn their great ideas into a tangible business.
“We’re trying to solve that problem by providing practical training and connecting entrepreneurs to the mentors and advisers that can help them get to the next level,” she says. “Across the continent young people are excited about technology and it’s potential to change the world. Unfortunately, not as many young people are focused on the business elements of their technology ideas and actually turning it into sustainable businesses that can generate revenue.”
Along with Diaspora Demo Day, She Leads Africa continues to help young African entrepreneurs get the skills, networks and resources they need to build global businesses by implementing the following programs:
SLA x Intel
She Leads Africa partners with Intel Corp to host educational workshops for tech entrepreneurs in cities across Africa. The workshop is targeted towards female developers who are looking to build their businesses and eventually IPO for millions of dollars.
They hosted their first She Leads Africa’s Entrepreneur Showcase in Lagos, Nigeria (a platform that introduces the continent’s most promising female entrepreneurs to investors, accelerators and mentors looking to invest in the next generation of African talent) that included a pitch competition. Only 10 out of 380 applicants were selected to pitch and the winner received $10,000 along with other non-financial prizes.
In her interview with Women LEAD, Belo-Osagie gives women entrepreneurs sage advice.
“Turn every moment into an opportunity and get out there and hustle,” she said. “No one will fight for your success if you don’t.”