Female-led startups are on the disproportionate end of the fundraising spectrum – a jarring fact that needs no introduction. Institutional systems, policies and the private sector are challenged to be more gender inclusive, as well-intended conversations and thought-provoking pieces continue to trail around the topic of gender-biased funding.
In this report by Africa: The Big Deal,
“93% of the funding in Africa in 2021 went to start-ups led by male CEOs. Looking at the makeup of founding teams, over 99% of the funding in 2021 was raised by a single male founder or a founding team with at least one male co-founder.”
One of such pieces that seeks to answer some of the common questions asked is the Briter Bridges Report: In Search Of Equity – Exploring Africa’s Gender Gap in Startup Finance. In their findings, three learnings are uncovered. Female founders are underrepresented in the sectors that attract the most financing, there exists a confidence gap which separates female and male founders (in their sample) and female entrepreneurs pay it forward by being twice as likely to hire women, and four times as likely to employ female managers.
As a community dedicated to supporting the startup ecosystem, we have a direct responsibility as VC firms, angel investors, mentors and organisations to be proactive about this mission to Break The Bias, and put our words to practice. And so the question remains –
What are we going to do about it?
Introducing the Venture Showcase – Women-founder series
Building on the success of the Venture Showcase, VC4A now opens a call dedicated to women-led startups from across the Africa region and welcomes fast growing startups with clear impact potential and in the process of scaling up their activities in the region. Focusing on a new class of African women led success stories and further catalysing the Series A market on the continent, the Venture Showcase amplifies the development impact generated by the local startup ecosystem as a whole.
Every year since 2017, the VC4A Venture Showcase spotlights the best companies from across the continent ready for Series A financing. Post-seed stage, post revenue and well positioned for regional and international expansion, participating ventures receive unprecedented exposure as well as hands-on support and access to a network that will positively impact their growth trajectory.
The Showcase has since selected 90 scale-ups as part of 6 showcase programs, resulting in a number of Seed and Series A deals totalling over $300M.
The 2022 Venture Showcase – Women Founder Series
We’re looking for 16 innovative, high-growth women-led scale-ups to showcase to the global network of over 2000 Africa-focused investors at once through a Seed and Series A track. Are you operating in Africa, generating revenue, and looking to raise between $750K and $10M? We invite you to apply for this opportunity. Applications will be accepted tentatively from April – May, 2022.
Rebecca Enonchong at the 2021 Africa Early Stage Investor Summit, comments
“I enjoyed the fact that in all of the [summit] sessions, the gender component was included. Given we had a panel with wonderful women speaking specifically on gender inclusion, the fact that everybody on each panel raised this topic was pretty amazing.”
How can you get involved?
Some of the greatest opportunities for social and environmental change exist in emerging markets where entrepreneurs have the least access to resources and support, yet must overcome the greatest set of challenges. Today, VC4A supports some 200K entrepreneurs, representing some 22K ventures on 5 continents, who have 1 mission: to thrive.
You and your organization can be part of this initiative as a technical expert, investor, mentor, business services provider, and through referrals of promising female-led startups. If you are interested, feel free to contact us at thomas[at]vc4a[dot]com and we will be happy to discuss your potential involvement.
For more information, visit the Venture Showcase website and Research Report (research Venture Showcase performance).