More women-led enterprises eye Sh7 million seed funding

The women from 15 countries underwent up to 800 hours of mentorship meetings. [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

Four social enterprises with local founders are eyeing millions in funding from the inaugural Women Entrepreneurship for Africa (WE4A) accelerator programme.

This is after the firms secured a three-month admission into the cohort of 30 female entrepreneurs primed to receive up to Sh1.5 million in grants and share in the Sh7.3 million prize if selected to join the top 15 startups that qualify for the growth programme.

The programme said the additional grants are set to be disbursed under the business capital needs, subject to milestones achieved.

The four startups to watch from Kenya are Dial a Pad, a multifaceted platform which deploys an app, e-commerce platform and smart sanitary towel dispensers to achieve uninterrupted education for women and girls, and; Mukuru Clean Stoves which manufactures and distributes improved and reliable cooking stoves.

Nyayo Moms Sokos Ltd is another platform that provides a digital marketplace and planned monthly physical markets in partnership with gated communities around Nyayo Estate in Embakasi.

The fourth potential beneficiary Plumbee Wholefoods Ltd is a female-owned agro-processing company putting low-income women at the heart of the value chain to increase access to affordable quality nutrition for children.

The WE4A initiative is implemented by the Swiss Association For Entrepreneurship (Safeem) in conjunction with the Tony Elumelu Foundation and the German Development Agency.

The project is jointly supported by the European Union, the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Safeem Senior Programme Manager Elizabeth Jones said the 99 female entrepreneurs that recently went through the WE4A pitching competition were a great inspiration.

The women from 15 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa underwent up to 800 hours of mentorship meetings, 67 hours of training per company, and 234 experiments run by the entrepreneurs.

“In just a short time all of the companies that went through the programme achieved growth in some way, be it revenue, traction, employees, or new partnerships, their hard work and dedication paid off,” she said.