In Africa, 26 per cent of formal small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are owned by women however this does not translate to adequate financial growth to expand their businesses; this was the crux of the Women Creating Wealth forum chaired by the Graca Machel Trust at the World Economic Forum Africa.
The women creating wealth forum leveraged off WEF Africa and focused on ideas being exchanged on innovative ways to harness the untapped potential of women on the continent.
“We are talking about basically creating the next generation of African female billionaires in the world – we have to change the mindset,” said Andia Chakava, Country Director for New Faces New Voices in Kenya.
Chakava wants women to not just start a business to simply afford school fees or to just get by but to aim for great instead of just good.
“The only way you can get investors or people to notice you, is to create a track record, evidence that can demonstrate that you can basically do that work and well.”
Chakava adds that technology has allowed for the clever use of social media to market one’s business and get noticed, and that is one way to show investors that you know how to do what you need to do already.
Linah Mohohlo, Governor Bank of Botswana also had a few words to say about women not being ambitious enough – “We are not envious enough to challenge the status quo and enjoy it.”
Graca Macel, Founder of the Graca Machel Trust, appealed to financial institutions that are sensitive to women to come out and mentor them.
“Help them… the banks have to change in the way that they relate to this segment of women, identify what they are doing and then give them the mentorship and then give them the training – you don’t move from middle to big just because you have money , you have to develop the skills,” she said.