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African women hit a wall of prejudice as they seek start-up ...


African women hit a wall of prejudice as they seek start-up funding

The push to groom more women entrepreneurs has spawned a new breed of gender-focused funds on the continent

Samuel Gebre, Bella Genga, Katarina Hoije and Archana Narayanan

Africa’s female entrepreneurs, like their US and European counterparts, are underrepresented when it comes to raising funds. Their start-up journeys are also often a lot more arduous, say investors such as Polo Leteka, co-founder of Alitheia IDF, the continent’s largest gender-led fund.

The issues are “probably more pronounced here because we have more underlying problems”, said Leteka, pointing to her own experience with tapping investors for funds. “There was this mentality that African women are just supposed to sell tomatoes on the side of the road.”  

While surmounting such stereotypes is getting easier, huge barriers remain. For every $1 invested in women, $25 goes to men in the African start-up space, according to the World Bank.  ..

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