(ENTREPRENARIUM) - Last Thursday, as a side event of the Global Gender Summit which took place in Kigali from 25 to 27 November 2019 - Entreprenarium Foundation welcomed 300 distinguished guests and beneficiaries to its quinquennial celebration. An occasion to recall the achievements realized by the organization on the continent.
The 2019 Global Gender Summit organized for the first time in Africa by the AfDB and co-hosted by the government of Rwanda, gathered more than 1,200 global and general leaders from the private and public sector, civil society and development institutions to provide innovative ideas that address challenges and opportunities for gender equality and women empowerment in Africa and around the world. Under the theme “Unpacking constraints to gender equality,” the Summit’s conversations and dialogue focused on scaling up innovative financing, enabling legal, regulatory, and institutional environments; and securing women’s participation and voices.
"The funding mechanisms and technical assistance available for women entrepreneurs in Africa" (from left to right) : Didier ACOUETEY, President of AfricSearch Group; Anne-Marie LEVESQUE, Gender Lead at FinDev Canada; Sabine SOETENS, Private Sector Development Expert at Enabel; Bernard CHITUNGA, AFAWA Coordinator at African
Development Bank; Nishdeep SETHI, Deputy Head of Structured Finance and Products Africa at African Guarantee Fund.
A once in a lifetime opportunity for Entreprenarium’s community to meet with inspiring leaders and prominent businesspeople.
The Summit kicked off with a panel discussion on “Unlocking women’s access to finance on Africa” with Entreprenarium’s Founder Kristine Ngiriye, AfDB President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, McKinsey Africa Chairman Acha Leke, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Group Managing Director Kennedy Uzoka to name a few. Questioned about the issues faced by women entrepreneurs in Africa nowadays, Ms Ngiriye answered that “27 years later after I started my first company, nothing has changed, collaterals are still bottleneck for women’s access to finance. We’re thrilled about AFAWA (Affirmative Finance Action for Women) initiative and LOI signed with UBA and Ecobank. Let’s execute now! »
The 2019 Global Gender Summit seemed the appropriate encounter to celebrate the quinquennial of Entreprenarium.
Indeed, the last day of the Summit was dedicated to Entreprenarium’s community of women entrepreneurs. The day started by a panel discussion on “The funding mechanisms and technical assistance available for women entrepreneurs in Africa” with AfDB, FinDev Canada, Enabel and African Guarantee Fund’s representatives. Institutions that had been challenged by the audience of women entrepreneurs on the efficiency of their programmes when African banks offer interest rates above 15% while it has been proven that 98% of women entrepreneurs pay back their loans. The debate was followed by Masterclasses delivered by Entreprenarium’s finance experts on Investment and Funding Readiness.
SARAYAA fashion show during Entreprenarium's quinquennial cocktail celebration.
Entreprenarium’s cocktail concluded the Global Gender Summit but also five exciting years where more than 3,000 women entrepreneurs have been supported in 13 African countries in partnership with well-known organisations like the AfDB, Organisation de la Francophonie, Imbuto Foundation to name a few.
During the celebration, Rwandan Minister Soraya Hakuziyaremye of Trade and Industry and Gabonese Minister Prisca Nlend Koho for the Promotion and the integration of Women in Development, shared their appreciations for the work realised by the Foundation in both their countries and how necessary it has been to boost local economies, because women entrepreneurs create local value added through their businesses, but also give back 90% of their revenue to the education, health and nutrition of their family as opposed to about 35% for men. “I congratulate Entreprenarium for giving to women entrepreneurs...I really commend their work and I’m hoping that we can keep working together” said Minister Hakuziyaremye in her speech.
As a welcoming note, Kristine Ngiriye, shared an inspiring note with her guests, that resonate as a promising message for the coming years: “The message I wish to share with you today is that Africa’s destiny does not depend on our heads of state. Africa’s destiny depends on women who will dare to cross the threshold of uncertainty, fear, social pressure, conformity. Africa’s development will depend on the number and quality of women who will create, innovate, lead by example, pass on values and set new standards.”
The audience had the opportunity to admire the creations of the Senegalese designer Sarayaa, to be in awe of Ibihame Intore dancers (Rwandan traditional dancers) and be inspired by the artist Nathalie Vairac’s words.
About Entreprenarium Foundation
Founded in 2014, the Entreprenarium Foundation is the first pan-African organization that invests philanthropic capital in the training and financing of women and young entrepreneurs. Entreprenarium runs programs whose objectives are to equip entrepreneurs throughout Africa with the necessary skills, knowledge and resources to succeed in the creation and development of their small and medium-sized enterprises. Since 2014, over 3,000 entrepreneurs have been trained and 2,9 million dollars initial capital invested in technical assistance and funding of 52 projects.