Women account for 17% of business founders in Africa, yet they receive a fraction of available capital. In 2021, African startups raised over $5 billion in funding across various sectors, with just 20% going to startups co-founded by women and only 1% of funding going to women-led startups. This is despite the fact that women make up half of the population and are increasingly dominant in the entrepreneurship space, with 58% of businesses in Africa being owned by women.
One example of a successful and innovative women-led startup in Africa is Pezesha, a micro lending platform founded by Hilda Moraa in Kenya. Pezesha leverages credit analytics and big data to offer users access to loans securely using mobile money, helping to digitize small businesses and tackle poverty and unemployment. The platform also improves financial literacy and increases business earnings, driving economic growth and improving livelihoods.
By increasing the representation of women in the startup ecosystem, we can help bridge the gap between the number of women-led startups and the amount and quality of support they receive, ultimately leading to more diversity and innovation.
This is why we are excited to announce the launch of the Google for Startups Accelerator: Women Founders Africa Program, which aims to support and empower women entrepreneurs in Africa by addressing these specific challenges.
The program will run for 12 weeks and will include both online and in-person sessions, starting in March and ending in May 2023. This program is part of our broader efforts to improve the representation of women across different sections and to provide resources, mentorship and a network of support for female entrepreneurs.
We believe that by providing access to funding, resources and mentorship, we can help to empower women founders to scale their businesses, create jobs and make a positive impact on their communities.
Applications for the program are open now through February 20th, 2023. We encourage all women building great tech startups in Africa or for Africa to apply to the program and take advantage of this opportunity.