Women Venture Exchange: Another US-Supported Opportunity For African Women Entrepreneurs

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US recording artist and entrepreneur Akon (centre) poses for photos after speaking at the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi

The Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, Kenya has given female entrepreneurs in Africa another reason to brighten up and scale their businesses. At the event, the U.S department and a host of other organizations including the Global Entrepreneurship Network and Mara Mentors birthed a platform that will offer relevant and effective opportunity for emerging women entrepreneurs in poorly supported environments. This will enable them access to a rich network of experienced and established entrepreneurs who will assist them scale hurdles by providing experiential advices and insights.

Called the Women Venture Exchange, the program which was birthed during the GES Youth + Women event is expected to connect African entrepreneurs with mentors in their region. These entrepreneurs will be supported by the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), Mara Mentors and Case Foundation.

Speaking at the program, the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues- Catherine Russell said: “One of the things we’ve learned about promoting entrepreneurship is that mentoring can go a long way, especially when mentors can speak from first-hand experience about how to overcome similar challenges and navigate similar environments. That’s why we’re launching a program that will connect women entrepreneurs in Africa with mentors right here in the region.”

The programwill leverage on GEN’s connections and established networks of organizations like Mara mentors and Case Foundation to ensure the program reaches all parts of Africa. The aim is to empower 1 million youth and women entrepreneurs in the region by the year 2020 through mentorship and financing to enable them create and grow successful businesses.

The pilot phase will see four women get the chance to build their businesses and visit other African countries to expose them to new entrepreneurial networks. Buttressing the need for this, AshishThakkar, founder of Mara Group and the Mara Foundation said“For entrepreneurs at the start of their life, a real obstacle to growth is the fear of failure. The best way to overcome this fear is to access mentorship from real business experts who have gone through the same experiences.I had access to these opportunities as an entrepreneur learning the ropes in East Africa and I want young entrepreneurs to have even more which enable them to build thriving businesses.”

Mara Group Founder Ashish Thakkar

Mara Group Founder Ashish Thakkar


The pilot phase shall take place in Kenya (Nairobi) and Uganda (Kampala) before spreading to other parts of the continent.

According to Jonathan Ortmans, President of the Global Entrepreneurship Network, this program allows young innovators from Africa to learn from peers and mentors within Africa’s more mature startup communities rather than from another distant continent.



I'm interested in stories, news and opportunities for African entrepreneurs. Be it tech, fashion, SMEs; breaking entrepreneurship stories is the next best thing that can happen to me, after Jollof

1 Comment

  1. juliet

    July 31, 2015 at 1:11 pm


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