NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 11 – A competition seeking to empower women entrepreneurs in East Africa has been launched in Kenya by Mozambican politician and humanitarian Graca Machel.
Dubbed Invest2Impact, the business competition seeks to provide access to funding to help develop women-led initiatives in the region.
It also seeks to contribute to the community of women business owners and leaders in the region and directly reach women-owned businesses that may otherwise face barriers in accessing investment capital.
Machel says the initiative will stand out by pinpointing women-owned businesses at the growth stage, poised for investment capital.
“Empower a Woman and a whole Community will thrive; empowering women benefits everyone and is essential for communities to thrive. Research shows that increasing women’s involvement leads to improved financial management and more sustainable, thriving communities,” Machel said.
Additionally, the initiative will provide women with mentorship, business development services, visibility and the opportunity for funding.
The project has been initiated by development finance institutions including FinDevCanada, Commonwealth Development Corporation Group (CDC) of the United Kingdom, Proparco of France and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) of the United States along with the Mastercard Foundation.
The project focus is on East Africa, specifically Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda where 100 women participants will be chosen to pursue the competition.
The competition is expected to bring value to women business owners through four tracks; 2Xcelerate, for women-led business owners, 2Xcapital for SMEs, 2Xcrowd for crowdfunding campaigns and 2Xcatalyze for network building.