Studies show that as women-led businesses grow, the wider community benefits. Ultimately, when women scale their businesses, they promote inclusive development and growth by expanding localized career and investment opportunities. infoDev wants to support this development, by supporting women entrepreneurs who run growth-oriented companies in emerging and frontier markets.
Nonetheless, women still face an uneven playing field in regard to education, employment, earnings, and decision-making power, as highlighted by the gender focused World Bank World Development Report 2012. These limitations are further exacerbated when women are attempting to start or scale up their businesses. Without support systems to gain skills, the lack of networks that provide access to finance, and, in some countries, the absence of autonomy due to cultural attitudes and legal conditions, many women face seemingly insurmountable difficulties in promoting successful businesses.
With these challenges in mind infoDev held the African Women Entrepreneurs Roundtable at its recent 5th Global Forum on Innovation & Technology Entrepreneurship in South Africa. During the Roundtable, both accomplished and aspiring female entrepreneurs from Africa and across world regions shared personal experiences and resources on how to succeed in business, connect with mentors and stimulate the next generation of promising entrepreneurs. These types of connections are often indispensable to entrepreneurs.
Many of the Roundtable’s participants were profiled in a booklet that was distributed at the Forum. The Women Entrepreneurs booklet features the insights from 23 of the most inspiring women entrepreneurs, who are all developing innovative new products for the mobile, education, clean technology, retail and media sectors.
Many of these women will also be highlighted in a series of video interviews, featured on infoDev’s website throughout July and August. For more information, watch a video of the African Women Entrepreneurs Roundtable on the Global Forum website.