KIZITO OKECHUKWU | AUGUST 3, 2020
Be it in business, at home or wherever and whenever, women the world over remain a force to be reckoned with. Their inherent dedication, strength of spirit, insight and foresight, humility and patience make them unique.
Many say that if you want to get things done, ask a woman. In African culture, it is said that if you feed a woman, you feed a nation. More often than not, women are cause-driven, with traits of integrity, soft-heartedness and strong-mindedness.
Our National Women’s Day is celebrated on the 9th August each year and the entire month is also dedicated to this. It commemorates the day in 1956 upon which approximately 20 000 women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against the country’s pass laws that required black South Africans under the Population Registration Act to carry an internal passport to walk freely around the country, colloquially and insultingly called a “dompas”.
Getting down to business, in many communities, women startups comprise only 15-35% of all startups and more male-owned startups receive funding than their women counterparts. The pandemic is expected to widen this gender-based gap. The same goes for those trying to climb the corporate ladder.
Research published in 2019 by Pitch Book Data and All Raise, the San Francisco-based non-profit that is pushing for more diversity in the startup ecosystem, highlights various disparities between male and female startups. It reveals the global and US-focused trends surrounding female-founded companies and female-led VC funds, throughout the last decade.
Progress in garnering investment for female-founded startups has been made in recent years, with 2018 notching up $46.3bn in total capital across nearly 3 500 deals, about 18 percent of the total venture invested, compared to $21.9bn in 2017. In addition, female-founded startups are taking substantially less time to exit than the overall market, an important metric for female entrepreneurs and the investors who back them. The report also illustrates areas in which gender bias still continually proliferates, and offers key advice points and a call-to-action from partners and sponsors.
Our “She Remains Resilient” webinar aims to raise awareness about this so-called “segregation” and will also create a platform to support female-led startups during the pandemic and beyond. It is vital that we all work together, genderless, to ensure equal access to opportunities for all women.
Our panel members are Ms Buke Cuhadar, vice-President of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), Ms Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Ms Zoleka Lisa, vice-President of SAB-AB InBev, Minnie Dlamini, an entrepreneur, celebrity, actress and TV host and Ms Tania
Mukwamu, co-founder of Maxicash, one of the fintech startups based at 22 on Sloane, will also be joining us.
As an unknown author once said, “here’s to strong women, may we know them, may we be them and may we raise them”. The current global pandemic that is decimating the world and its business arenas, calls for resilience from all women and, at 22 on Sloane, we dedicate this webinar to help empower and support all female-led startups.
“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”
Ayn Rand, renowned best-selling Russian-American writer and philosopher
To join us and add your voice to push for equality for all, please Register Here
Kizito Okechukwu is the Board vice President and interim President of Digital Africa. He is the co-Chair of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) Africa based at 22 on Sloane; Africa’s largest startups campus
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22 On Sloane is the largest startup campus in Africa. The campus offers disruptive startups and innovative SMEs a complete turnkey solution to scale, from the initial idea all the way to commercialisation, funding opportunities and access to markets. Its aim is to nurture the entrepreneurial mindset, ensure their sustainability, and explore development of new industries and contribute towards job creation in Africa.
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