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20 May 2022 Is the Application Deadline for Female Entrepreneurs

in the ECOWAS Region

ShEquity, an investment vehicle providing smart investments for impactful, innovative and scalable female-led and owned businesses in Sub-Sahara Africa, today announced the launch of the second edition of its accelerator program, ShEquity Business Accelerator (SHEBA).  The 16-week SHEBA program provides venture building and technical support to African female entrepreneurs across the ECOWAS region who are looking to successfully grow their businesses and become investment ready.

Today’s call for applications is for English speakers only, as a separate call for Francophone speakers to apply will be issued next month.

Established in March 2021 by ShEquity in collaboration with its implementation partner, MBC Africa, SHEBA addresses the existing gender funding gap by de-risking African female-led businesses, getting them to become investment ready and equipping the founders with the skill set needed to grow and scale their businesses. The inaugural cohort graduated 16 founders from the following countries: Benin, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Togo.

SHEBA focuses on impactful, innovative and scalable businesses in agribusiness (agritech, production, processing, wholesale, retail, all agribusiness value chain aspects), healthcare, tech enabled solutions (fintech, clean tech, etc.), renewable energies, mobility and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs). The applicants’ businesses should be legally registered in ECOWAS countries, female owned and managed with a minimum 51% female ownership and in operation for at least 24 months.

Commenting on the launch of the second SHEBA edition, Pauline Koelbl, founder of ShEquity stated: “We are thrilled to be launching this new edition and  are extremely confident that this new cohort group will experience the same game changing impact on their businesses as the first cohort group.  Participants in SHEBA’s inaugural program experienced an increase in the number of customers and overall sales, evolution of business models, increased managerial confidence, and an overall mindset shift to one of focus.  Such impressive outcomes represent the foundations of the SHEBA program that drives accelerator participants towards investment readiness.”

Tenemba Anna Samake, executive director of MBC commented: “We strongly believe the SHEBA program will be a catalyst towards addressing the existing gender inequity when it comes to financing, which is a major challenge for African female-led and owned businesses.  Integral to the accelerator program is the delivery of advisory services to provide a pathway towards accessing seed financing to build a strong foundation for growth.  Furthermore, SHEBA provides accelerator participants with necessary skills to scale their businesses.

With only 3% of early-stage funding since 2013 going to all-female founding teams, and female founder or a founding team made exclusively of women receiving 0.95% of the total raised funds by startups in Africa in 2021 ( $4.6 billion), SHEBA is positioned as the bridge to closing the gender funding gap in Africa. The accelerator program is designed to address investors’ concerns and investment risks by focusing on the following: Business Development, Finances, Legal & Governance, Human Resources & Leadership, Marketing & Communications as well as Measuring Results. This investor focused approach is complemented with hands-on market testing as well as executive coaching, mentorship sessions and opportunities to leverage ShEquity and MBC Africa’s pan-African and global networks.

In addition to the robust program development focus, SHEBA offers  ShEquity and other investors within the ShEquity network, investment ready opportunities in  female-led and owned businesses. After the acceleration program, qualifying businesses are recommended to the ShEquity team for investment consideration. The typical ShEquity seed investment ranges between US$50K to 250K, with an additional opportunity of post-investment support.

To apply for the second cohort of the 16-week program. Apply here. Deadline for submissions is 20 May 2022.

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