After shortlisting 10 female entrepreneurs, She Leads Africa, a social enterprise dedicated to fostering the spread of business growth and ideas in Africa, is hosting its inaugural Entrepreneur Showcase on the 20th of September, 2014, at Terra Kulture in Victoria Island, Lagos.
The Entrepreneur Showcase provides female entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their business ventures to a panel of potential mentors and investors and compete for cash and prizes. With an acceptance rate of less than 3%, ten entrepreneurs were selected from the list of almost four hundred applicants from twenty seven countries. Prizes for the winners include financial prizes of US$10,000 and US$5,000 to the winner and runner-up, respectively, as well as non-financial prizes such as phones and tablets, brand consultation, free office space, access to prominent venture capitalists and angel investors, and additional tools needed in order to expand their existing start-ups and achieve their business dreams.
“We are incredibly excited about the finalists for the inaugural She Leads Africa competition,” said Yasmin Belo-Osagie, the Co-Founder of She Leads Africa. “These finalists represent some of the best and the brightest entrepreneurial talent in Africa, and we look forward to seeing the outcome of the competition.”
“Starting a business is challenging for any young person in Africa and at times the challenges can multiply for young women,” said Afua Osei, the Co-Founder of She Leads Africa. “Access to education, financing, and useful networks are limited, and cultural stereotypes can curtail a woman’s ambition. She Leads Africa’s vision is to provide entrepreneur development, networks and funding for promising female entrepreneurs who have the ambition and drive to be the business leaders of tomorrow, building companies that will become pan-African and global leaders.”
She Leads Africa’s 10 finalists will have a month long period of business consultancy with key figures in the private equity, management consulting, and financial industries. These mentors will work hand in hand with the entrepreneurs on their business plan development, go to market strategy, financial modelling and pitching skills before the showcase.
“Africa as a whole is poised for greatness, with significant potential for wealth,” further commented Afua Osei. “With the guidance and mentorship of those that have become proven successes in their fields, we can make sure that this new period of growth creates opportunities in new sectors and for a new generation of Africans.”
This year’s adjudication panel will include the following notable businesspeople:
– Hakeem Belo-Osagie: Serial entrepreneur and Africa’s 34th wealthiest man. Mr Belo-Osagie currently sits on the global advisory board for the Council of Foreign Relations and the Brookings Institute
– Ngozi Edozien: Founder of InVivo partners and non-executive director at Barloworld, PZ Cussons, and Vlisco. Ms Edozien is also the former head of West Africa for emerging market focused PE fund Actis
– Bola Adesola: Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Nigeria and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network
This year’s showcase features female entrepreneurs across a broad range of sectors: retail, manufacturing, e-commerce, information technology, and transportation. Finalists come from across the continent and diaspora, including Nigeria, Ghana, Morocco, South Africa, United Kingdom and the USA. The competition will place a spotlight on the women that are driven to developing Africa’s growth story through fostering commerce.