Africa’s startups are more gender-balanced than their global peers
Entrepreneurs from all corners of Africa (CNN)
London, March 18, 2018 (AltAfrika)-Africa’s startups are reportedly more gender-balanced than their global peers. A survey by the Global Accelerator Learning Initiative of 2,568 ventures operating in sub-Saharan Africa showed over half included women are on the founding team.
For example, while 55% of African startups already had revenue, the number was 43% globally. Also, 70% of African startups had employees while globally just 59% did. And yes, more global startups had equity funding, at 16% versus 11% for African startups. That’s likely a reflection of the tougher market environment and startup founders feeling more under pressure to show “results” or at least prove that there are real customers willing to pay for their services.
But as important as some of these data have been for raising awareness and encouraging entrepreneurial and talent development, there have been concerns. A startup founder based in Lagos, felt some programs were more concerned with their own survival than enabling access to funds to help startups take the risks needed to survive.
This founder is not alone in thinking that way. African startup founders at the World Bank’s XL Africa program said many see regional and corporate accelerators as just offering “superficial access to mentorship and investor networks, resulting in few startups landing investments and disenchanted investors.”
It turns out most early-stage startups in sub-Saharan Africa are not that different from their global peers according to GALI, which surveyed 8,666 startups globally. The top two startup sectors in Africa were agriculture and education, respectively, while globally, the order was flipped.
The way accelerators and incubators enable innovative entrepreneurship is not necessarily broken but it does need tweaking and updating to ensure they’re staying in touch with market needs in 2018 and beyond.
Organisations like the World Bank, African Business Angel Network, and others are looking at ways to tweak programs and partnerships to get more out of what are still very important fixtures of Africa’s young tech ecosystems.