How women got a raw deal on the start-up stick

By ANTHONY KITIMO

More than 97 percent of investments made in African startups between 2013 and 2021 went to male-led startups, with female techpreneurs on the continent less likely to be offered equity funding.

A report entitled In Search of Equity: Exploring Africa’s Gender Gap in Startup Funding prepared in collaboration with the World Bank’s Africa Gender Innovation Lab (GIL) and Briter Bridges, found major differences between male and female startups in Africa.

The survey shows that female-led African start-ups have been disproportionately funded, with only three percent of all billions invested in African start-ups going to women-led start-ups in the funding deals that took place between 2013 and 2021 went.

On the other hand, 76 percent of total funding during the eight-year period went to startups led by all-male teams.

Dario Guiliani, founder of Briter Bridges, a research and intelligence firm that focuses on underserved markets in Africa and Europe, said female tech startup founders are noticeably fewer in sub-sectors like fintech, which is known to attract the most investment are.

During the Nation Digital Summit in Mombasa organized by Nation Media Group this month, Wale Akinyemi said that despite the rise in tech startups, most women are disadvantaged due to a lack of funding and insufficient skills.

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dr Akinyemi stressed the need to involve women and youth in organizational decision-making processes to bring about change and adopt technology.

“Many African organizations do not have youth in senior positions that are critical to decision-making, so those making decisions on behalf of organizations fear digitization and hold organizations back,” said Dr. Akinyemi.

Data from various sources shows that startups in Africa received a record over $4 billion in 2021 – more than double the investment in 2020.

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