2 years ago we made history and launched the first ever all-female pan African Pitch competition. During this time we’ve had over 800 applications from more than 40 different countries. We’ve personally injected $50,000 into female led businesses but have facilitated investments of up to $1mn.
Being aspiring #MotherlandMoguls, we refuse to rest of our laurels and know that it’s time to take the next step.
The pitch competition was a great way to find female businesses and give them cash but it didn’t give us the opportunity to give the entrepreneurs the training, mentorship and support we know they deserved.
So this year, instead of a pitch competition, we’ll be piloting the She Leads Africa Accelerator program – the first all female accelerator program on the continent.
The SLA Accelerator will be a 3 month program for female entrepreneurs looking to scale their businesses. The program will consist of 3 1-week residences where entrepreneurs will be trained by the She Leads Africa team and our network of business leaders and experts. These residencies will be followed 3 weeks of remote monitoring.
The accelerator program will end with a demo day where businesses will pitch to a room filled with local and international investors. The winning businesses will also win $10,000 from She Leads Africa. This prize will be disbursed as a grant or as an equity investment from She Leads Africa. This program is being run in partnership with the Work in Progress Alliance, Oxfam, GTBank and VC4Africa. Applications will open in 2 weeks.
Unfortunately as all of you know this year has been financially difficult for economies across the continent. SLA is not immune to these difficulties and therefore the amount of money we have for this pilot is severely constrained. As such, the 2016 program will be held in Nigeria and will be limited to businesses based in Nigeria only.
We’re very disappointed about this restriction but unfortunately we have to be realistic about the financial realities of the day. For all our non-Nigerian members, don’t be too disappointed. If the pilot this year goes well, we plan to expand to other markets.
And hey – if you know any development agencies or corporate sponsors that would be willing to support our pan-African dreams — you know where to find us.
If you’re interested in applying for the program, make sure you’ve joined our online community here.
Yasmin and Afua