Access to funding is a challenge faced by all entrepreneurs looking to grow. On average, 30 percent of SME owners in Sub-Saharan Africa see their loan application rebuffed by formal financial institutions because of a lack of collateral.
But research shows that for women, the struggle is more. Women are disadvantaged because they have fewer assets than men. Globally, financial institutions’ portfolio of loans with women-owned SMEs tends to be significantly lower than that of their male counterparts.
The lack of access to finance hampers business growth.
A new venture capital (VC) fund has been launched that will boost funding for women-led startups from the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Enygma Ventures, a ZAR 100 Mn VC fund was launched yesterday by husband and wife Sarah and Jacob Dusek.
The fund aims at “empowering, mentoring, and capitalizing outstanding female entrepreneurs in Southern Africa.”
“In Africa, 47 percent of businesses are owned by women yet very few have access to appropriate capital sources. Enygma Ventures will empower women to help level the playing field, by closing the gap for funding for women in Southern Africa,” the fund said in a statement seen by Weetracker.
The fund which will be run locally will invest up ZAR 2 Mn in women-led startups across the SADC region.
While many VC funds are concentrated on tech startups, Enygma Ventures will have a wide sector focus and non-tech businesses will also have opportunities to be funded.
The new fund will be managed by Lelemba and Sandras Phiri of the Africa Trust Group.
According to Phiri, Enygma Ventures is the first VC fund that is focused on investing in women entrepreneurs in the SADC region.
“We’re taking 10 women entrepreneurs in this first cohort and depending on how ready they are at the entrance we will look to invest within that six months,” Phiri said.
Sarah Dusek gave her sentiments: “I know how difficult it can be for women to think big because we have had so few role models to follow. I also understand the unique struggles and challenges of building a big business, having been a founder and CEO myself. We want to help women think big. We will create flexible financial solutions for them with efficient and strategic deployment of capital whilst also providing helpful tailored support.”
Featured Image Courtesy: The Guardian