The Department for International Trade and the Department for International Development in partnership with the Lionesses of Africa hosted Start-up Night Africa, where 11 women entrepreneurs pitched their businesses to UK investors.
Lionesses of Africa is a social enterprise supporting Africa’s women entrepreneurs by building and delivering development programmes, business tools and a range of other resources to help them share, connect, and ultimately grow their businesses.
Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Africa, Emma Wade-Smith OBE said, “The key to making a positive, lasting difference and creating more jobs on the African continent through investment is addressing the current gender imbalance for men and women business leaders seeking investment.”
Trade Commissioner added, “Events such as ‘Start-Up Night Africa’ demonstrate the impact we can have by connecting Africa’s entrepreneurs with the UK’s business community; creating spaces and places where business people can connect and find new partners, buyers or investors.”
The entrepreneurs taking part came from a range of sectors including technology, manufacturing, food and drink. Common to all the businesses is a strong focus on sustainability. The event connected the women-owned businesses to new markets, funding and partnerships in the UK.
At the event Lionesses of Africa Founder and CEO, Melanie Hawken announced that they have met their initial target of 1 million women entrepreneurs in their community. Big initiatives to be launched in the first quarter of 2020 will be the Lionesses of Africa Foundation, which will have its new global headquarters in London.
A panel of entrepreneurs discussed the challenges of brand building, opportunities for Africa’s women entrepreneurs to break into global marketplaces, the current interest from global markets in women-owned brands with a strong backstory, and the investment climate for Africa’s women-owned businesses looking to grow.
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