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  • Writer's pictureKanto Ranaivosoa

Shattering the Glass Ceiling: Women-Led Tech Startups in Africa Achieve Better Financial Results

Updated: Mar 21

For far too long, the narrative surrounding women in the global tech landscape has been one of underrepresentation and underachievement.

But did you know that women-led technology firms in Africa achieve a great 35% higher return on investment (ROI) compared to those led by men? This statistic is a wake-up call, urging us to re-evaluate our assumptions and acknowledge the real potential of women entrepreneurs. 

Therefore, it begs the question: what's the secret sauce behind these thriving businesses?

Let's delve deeper into three key factors that potentially contribute to the outperformance of women-led tech startups on the continent!

Strength 1: Long-term growth African women entrepreneurs often show a strong focus on long-term sustainability. They may prioritize building a solid foundation for their businesses, emphasizing profitability and social impact over short-term gains. This strategic approach can lead to greater financial stability and success on the long-run, even if scalability is not always the main aim. Unlike some businesses chasing quick wins and immediate returns, these women leaders are building for the future, fostering a culture of calculated risk-taking.

Strength 2: Navigating uncertainty Throughout their lives and careers, many women entrepreneurs in Africa have faced and overcome various barriers. This exposure to uncertainty has undoubtedly honed their adaptability. They have learned to cope with complex situations, and sometimes make sound decisions under pressure. These resilient traits translate into effective crisis management and strategic planning, which is particularly valuable in the ever-evolving world of technology where market trends can shift rapidly.

Strength 3: Human-centric leadership Women leaders often emphasize collaboration, communication, and empathy, fostering a more supportive work environment. This authentic attitude can lead to several positive outcomes:

  • Increased employee engagement: when employees feel valued, heard, and supported, they are more likely to be engaged and invested in the company's success. This translates into higher productivity and better performance.

  • Improved morale: a positive and supportive work environment promotes higher morale and job satisfaction, contributing to a more cohesive and productive team.

  • Diverse solutions: building teams with individuals from different backgrounds fosters a wider range of perspectives and problem-solving approaches, leading to more innovative creative thinking.

So concretely, what can we do to contribute to women’s inclusion in this rapid-growing industry?

Here are two first steps but obviously more investigation is much required:

Step 1: Challenging preconceived notions

  • Unconscious prejudices training: equip individuals and organizations with tools to recognize and addressing their own biases, fostering a fair playing field free from discriminatory assumptions.

  • Elevating female role models and mentorship: showcase the achievements of women in tech and create platforms for them to share their experiences, inspire, and guide the next generation. Take a look at Nampelka's work!

Step 2: Cultivating an ecosystem of support

  • Dedicated funding for women-led ventures: bridge the funding gap by establishing venture capital funds and angel investor networks specifically focused on supporting female entrepreneurs.

  • Flexible work arrangements and inclusive workplaces: offer flexible work options, supportive leave policies, and inclusive cultures to empower women to succeed in their careers while managing worklife balance.

In conclusion, the performance of women-led tech startups in Africa serves as a powerful challenge to existing stereotypes, thanks to their sustainaible vision, ability to go through unforeseen obstacles and finally their humanistic leadership. It is definitely a call to action rather than a simple reminder to learn from their success and foster change in the tech industry! 

What other lessons do you think we can learn from women's characteristics leading to successful tech businesses in Africa?

Tell us!

Kanto & Alisa

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