She Leads Africa has just opened applications for the She Leads Africa Accelerator, a 3 month program designed to identify, support and fund the next generation of Nigeria’s brightest female entrepreneurs. The SLA Accelerator program is being run in partnership with Guaranty Trust Bank and the Work in Progress! Alliance (Oxfam and VC4Africa).
The program is an extension of the She Leads Africa Entrepreneur Showcase, which made history 2 years ago as the first ever Pan-African pitch competition for women led businesses. Speaking about the new program, She Leads Africa co-founder Afua Osei said “the pitch competition was a great way to find and fund women led businesses but we weren’t able to work as closely with the entrepreneurs as we would have liked and help them hit key milestones. The accelerator will enable us to really focus on key areas the businesses need to improve on.”
The 3 month SLA Accelerator will consist of 1 week residencies where entrepreneurs will receive training from the SLA team and their network of business leaders and experts. During these residencies, entrepreneurs will be focused on growth, marketing and distribution. “Entrepreneurs learn by doing,” Osei continued, “so while there will be some classroom time, the main priority is for entrepreneurs to actually do their work and immediately put lessons learnt into practice. We’ll be on hand to support them – the entrepreneurs will essentially have a team of live in consultants.”
After each residency, the entrepreneurs will return home for 3 weeks to implement the lessons they’ve learnt. During this time, they will be remotely monitored and also have access to a whole suite of online resources through both SLA and VC4Africa platforms. The Accelerator will end with a Demo Day where businesses will pitch to local and international investors and compete for N 2million.
This program is being supported by the Work in Progress! Alliance – a consortium of Oxfam, Butterfly Works and VC4Africa focused on driving job creation and youth employment in Nigeria – and lead sponsor Guaranty Trust Bank. SLA co-founder Yasmin Belo-Osagie spoke about this partnership: “We’re so excited to be working with international partners in the Work in Progress! Alliance.. GTBank was a lead sponsor for the least 2 years and we’re excited to extend this partnership for a 3rd year. Their support of SLA as well as their innovative platforms such as SME MarketHub make it clear that they are committed to supporting youth entrepreneurship in Nigeria.”
Entrepreneurs interested in applying should visit SheLeadsAfrica.org for more information and the application form. Submissions close May 31st at 11:59pm WAT.