- ShEquity has received a co-investment of $1.2 million from USAID Trade Hub to invest in and support more than 100 of these high-potential women-owned or led businesses.
According to Pauline Koelbl, Founder and Managing Director of ShEquity, women entrepreneurs are integral to Africa’s success, as they operate more than 40 percent of small and medium-sized businesses on the continent. However, African women entrepreneurs face the hurdle of collectively growing these businesses due to $42 billion less in financing than their male counterparts.
“If Africa is to reach its full economic potential, smart investment for African women entrepreneurs needs to be dramatically increased,” Koelbl says. “The lack of financing, combined with insufficient business support, put potential women entrepreneurs and those seeking to expand their already successful businesses in a growth deficit or low-income trap, widening the gender gap and reinforcing negative biases.”
ShEquity’s USAID Trade Hub-backed project addresses these challenges by combining cash investment, structured technical support, and access to high-value networks.
Specifically, ShEquity will leverage its $1.2 million co-investment grant to attract at least $15 million in private funding that will be cumulatively used to invest in, scale, and accelerate women-owned or led businesses operating in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Niger, and Nigeria. The businesses targeted will operate in one of six key sectors: agribusiness, healthcare, tech-enabled solutions, renewable energy, mobility, and fast-moving consumer goods.
Also, as part of the USAID Trade Hub project, ShEquity will provide business development services and technical support to 120 women-owned or led businesses in the target markets and also select 12 high-growth, high-impact businesses that will each receive at least $50,000 in venture capital funding.