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  • Writer's pictureAlisa Sydow

Impact Entrepreneurship: Trends and Developments in Women-Led Ventures in Africa.

Updated: Jan 10

Warm welcome to this blog!


The starting point


My fascination with entrepreneurship in Africa, particularly among women, sparked during the early stages of my PhD. The pivotal moment occurred in 2016, during my first visit to Nairobi, Kenya—a profoundly enriching experience that unveiled both positive and challenging aspects.


Community of female entrepreneurs in Kenya
Women-led ventures in Africa

Why should we care about female entrepreneurs in Africa?


Meeting remarkable women driven to start their own businesses left an indelible mark on me. Their resilience and passion to create opportunities for their families fascinated me. It also became evident that the complex array of influencing factors, largely unknown to me as a German living in Italy, played a crucial role. Just to give you an example, I was not at all aware of the cultural limitations for women to wear their natural hair. Still up to now, it is forbidden to attend high quality boarding schools and/or offices with your natural hair. For me this was completely shocking as I have never thought about how to wear my hair in order to be able to access some institutions. This is just one example of many, in which I really understood that women in Africa do face particular challenges and barriers. That is why, I am even more surprised that so many of them are building up their businesses:


Circa 26% of the women are engaged in an entrepreneurial activity in Africa (compared to 11% worldwide).


Unfortunately, despite the unique strengths of female entrepreneurs, it still remains a largely unexplored terrain. We simply do not know enough about how women are able to overcome some of their barriers and how they are able to build up their businesses. I strongly believe that we can all learn a lot from female entrepreneurs in the African context. We just do not know enough about it in detail. What is known is their potential to impact society and the national economy, given their emphasis on community building and sustainability.


Motivated by this, we have a good reason for exploring the multifaceted world of women entrepreneurs, with a specific focus on developing economies, particularly the continent of Africa.

So, what will happen next?

I am deeply committed to gathering more insights and engaging in meaningful conversations about female entrepreneurs in Africa. My goal is to amplify their visibility and gain a deeper understanding of how we can support them, as well as identify valuable lessons for all of us. As we're in the early stages of this endeavor, I am enthusiastic about connecting with like-minded individuals who wish to join this journey. If you're interested in contributing or simply getting involved, please don't hesitate to reach out.


I look forward to connecting with you!


Alisa


Featured Photo taken by Sylvia Jemutai for Nampelka.



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