Empower Invest fund, EmNEW to invest in small and medium-scale renewable energy projects in Africa, with a focus on solar power, hybrid, and hydro technologies

 The African Development Bank managed Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa, has approved a $760,000 grant to Empower New Energy AS (EmNEW), to develop at least eight (8) small renewable energy projects with capacity ranging from1-10 MW, towards bankability and construction. 

The grant will support a broad range of project preparation and development activities, including technical feasibility studies, legal due diligence, environmental and social impact assessment, quality assurance and risk management.

EmNEW invests in renewable energy projects through competitive equity to small and medium scale projects which helps to reduce the time and resources required to finance projects while delivering environmental and social impact.

EmNEW has regional offices in Kenya and Ghana, with projects expected to unlock up to $500 million in renewable energy investment, reduce CO2 emissions by 320,000 tons, create 20,000 new jobs, and eventually produce 585 GWh of clean electricity.

Welcoming the approval, Terje Osmundsen, EmNEW’s CEO, said, “We are very excited to be entering into a partnership with the African Development Bank and SEFA. There is a large number of strong small or medium scale projects across Africa that remain unrealised because they can’t access competitive financing. Our approach allows us to bridge this gap and working with SEFA, will help us to accelerate this process and support more high-quality projects. Together, we can bring impactful investment to Africa, while helping the continent to meet its electrification, carbon-reduction, and sustainable development targets.”

Yasmina Edwards and Freda Isingoma Launch The Village Femme

The Village Femme aims to create an engaging, inspirational, supportive and informative safe space for a network of women across the globe who are influencing change across industries and borders. At Village Femme, we believe that education stretches beyond the four walls and hallowed halls of educational institutions. Education is also about sharing knowledge, providing support, collaborating and creating meaningful and impactful partnerships. 

Yasmin Edwards states, “our shared passion for empowering women and the way we support, partner and collaborate together as women, is what inspired “The Village Femme”. Last month, during a Corona Virus quarantine check-in, while sharing our vulnerabilities, anxieties, opportunities and goals in this changing environment, Freda and I agreed that there was a need for a global female network that allowed us to just be. How? To be as women, working our way through this world both personally and professionally, where we can share our dreams, experiences, expertise, failures and possibilities in a safe space. After all, we had created that kind of relationship together?! So why not create that kind of broader environment with a group of women that we respect, love and admire? And there “The Village Femme” story begins….”

The platform will provide an engaging online network for women entrepreneurs, captains of industry and game-changers to come together and create powerful connections, find inspiration and provide support, resources and solutions to everyday personal and business challenges as they navigate today’s changing global dynamics.

Contact the team here: thevillagefemme (at) gmail.com

Carbon establishes $100,000 fund to address the lack of funding for African Entrepreneurs

Carbon’s Disrupt fund will invest up to $10,000 per startup (for 5 percent equity) and give access to Carbon’s API, allowing investees to leverage Carbon’s growing customer base and innovative technology platform, to get to market faster. Acknowledging that its success is dependent on the growth of the tech ecosystem, Carbon expects the initiative to spark more collaboration and further investment that should drive growth across the ecosystem.

Carbon is now accepting applications from companies with operations in Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Egypt. Startups looking to apply for the fund must have a functioning product, post revenue and looking to operate in multiple countries. The fund has a wide investment mandate but target sectors include insurance, health, education which have not seen as much investment as the fintech space.

More than 50 percent of startup funding on the continent in 2019 went to fintech firms1, despite the abundance of opportunities that exist in other sectors. Carbon’s Disrupt fund has been developed to tackle this head on, making it easier for entrepreneurs across all sectors to access the funds and support they need to establish their solutions and achieve their business objectives. The fund will also provide mentorship, access to Carbon’s customers and payment platform, as well as office space in Carbon’s Lagos offices.

Learn more here: Carbon’s Disrupt Fund

Apply for the ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ Media Recognition Awards to eliminate Infertility Stigma

Call for Applications for ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ Media Recognition Awards 2020.

“Merck More Than a Mother” is a strong movement that aims to empower infertile women through access to information, education and change of mind-sets. This powerful campaign supports governments in defining policies to enhance access to regulated, safe and effective fertility care. It defines interventions to break the stigma around infertile women and raises awareness about infertility prevention, management and male infertility. In partnership with African First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Information, Education & Gender, academia, policymakers, International fertility societies, media and art, the initiative also provides training for fertility specialists and embryologists to build and advance fertility care capacity in Africa and developing countries.

With “Merck More Than a Mother,” we have initiated a cultural shift to de-stigmatize infertility on all levels: by improving awareness, training local experts in the fields of fertility care and media, building advocacy in cooperation with African First Ladies and women leaders and by supporting childless women in starting their own small businesses. It is all about giving every woman the respect and the help she deserves to live a fulfilling life, with or without a child.

The entries have been called from three (3) groups:

  • English Speaking African Countries,
  • French Speaking African Countries,
  • Portuguese Speaking African Countries,

Applications are invited by media professionals to showcase their work to raise awareness about infertility prevention and breaking infertility stigma.

Who can apply? Journalists from print, online, radio and multimedia platforms.

How to apply: Entries can be submitted

via email to mystory (at) merckmorethanamother.com.

DEADLINE: June 15, 2020

Wimbart Founder, Jessica Hope Named In UK PR Power List

Jessica Hope ranked in the 2020 PRWeek UK Powerbook, the UK’s most influential list for communications professionals. The London-based agency, Wimbart works with technology start-ups and SMEs across Africa, operating primarily in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, Rwanda, Egypt, Togo and South Africa.

Hope launched Wimbart, an independent B2B corporate PR agency, in 2015, with a strong emphasis on high-growth African technology companies and entrepreneurs. The company counts the likes of Andela, IROKO, Kobo360, 54gene, Carbon, Luno amongst its clients, and has recently secured a number of high profile new business wins. In the last 12 months, Hope has overseen a period of considerable expansion of the PR agency, growing the Wimbart team headcount from three to eleven, and with a move into larger Central London offices.

Speaking on the news, Jessica Hope, Wimbart Founder and MD says: “It’s an honour to be ranked alongside some true heavyweights of the UK PR and communications sector in this year’s PRWeek Powerbook. Over the years, we have been fortunate enough to build a formidable client list and collaborate with some of the most exciting, innovative and forward thinking African tech companies. We let our work speak for itself – so recognition from industry peers on the impact Wimbart is having, is a privilege.

“It has been a busy period of organic, yet rapid growth at the company over the past year, and we have found ourselves scaling in sync with the wider African tech space. As an agency, we are fiercely proud of the fact we are building a unique, high achieving community of BME PR professionals at Wimbart and as we grow the team and client base, we aspire to always add value to the sector we work in, as well as continue to be a meaningful part of the African tech narrative”.

John Harrington, UK Editor, PRWeek adds: “Congratulations to Jessica for being included in the PRWeek UK Power Book for the second year in a row. It’s a testament to her reputation as a communications professional and her work in the Africa market. It’s also a credit to the wider Wimbart team.”

Hope also acts as a PR & Communications mentor for the Google Launchpad for Africa program, and is an active member of the UK’s BME PR Pros mentorship community. She also speaks at and moderates on PR, BME and Africa technology events around the world.

Apply for the €20,000 prize to encourage Women’s Entrepreneurship in Africa

Awarded by Orange, this prize recognizes technological projects with a positive impact that improve living conditions for populations in Africa and the Middle East, in essential fields such as education, healthcare, agriculture, mobile payment or sustainable development.

The competition starts with a national phase during which each of the 17 Orange subsidiaries taking part will examine the projects submitted in its country and nominate three winners maximum. Then there will be a second international phase in which the winners from each country, up to 54 winners in total, will compete before an international panel which will award the OSVP grand prize at AfricaCom, the largest technological fair in Africa, which takes place in November in Cape Town, South Africa.

Furthermore, the 10 international finalists will have the opportunity to receive personalized support from experts in founding and financing new companies.

This award is aimed at students, employees or entrepreneurs aged over 21 years and start-ups that are less than three years old, in the following countries: Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Jordan, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Tunisia.

A novelty this year: a women’s prize worth €20,000 is added to the 3 international prizes, to encourage Women’s Entrepreneurship on the continent. This prize will reward either a woman, or a project offering a technological solution to improve the living conditions of women (women’s independence, creating or maintaining jobs, data collection on gender, digital inclusion and financial inclusion).

Furthermore, a special prize worth €10,000 will also be given by the international panel. As part of the Group’s strategy, whose ambition is to make digital technology an opportunity for everyone, the special prize will reward a project that improves the daily life of ‘vulnerable’ people (disabled or marginalized people or those who are socially and financially disadvantaged).

Apply here: Orange 2020

Facebook celebrates achievers across Sub Saharan African (SSA) following International Women’s Day

As part of its ongoing celebration of International Women’s Day, and under the banner of this year’s theme #EachforEqual, Facebook honors women from across Africa who have been using their voices to bring people together, build and make significant impact in their communities, while inspiring other women by changing the African narrative.

Platforms like Facebook continue to be an important tool for women business leaders worldwide. These women entrepreneurs establish businesses, create jobs and livelihoods, reach customers they could never have reached before and create change. In Africa, 23 percent of the business leaders surveyed through Facebook are women, starting their businesses for a variety of reasons, including flexible working conditions (4 percent), to pursue a passion or dream (33 percent) or wanting to be their own boss (29 percent).

Below are some of the women from across the continent who are using Facebook’s platforms to create movements for social change, build successful businesses and inspire others:

Technology developers:

  • Peculiar Ediomo-Abasi (Nigeria): A leading woman in tech who was part of a hackathon team that developed a blockchain solution to address violence against women
  • Gertrude Nyenyeshi (Kenya): A gaming enthusiast, web and mobile designer who builds digital skills with her local developer community
  • Edidiong Asikpo (Nigeria): A software engineer, developer and leader of Facebook’s Developer Circle in Uyo. She is also part of SheCodeAfrica and Women Will community circles that inspire other women to start careers in technology

Facebook Community Leaders:

  • Thitu Kariba (Kenya): Founder of Pregnant and Nursing Mums Support Group, a place where expectant and new mothers in Kenya can find support, advice and develop friendships
  • Nadine Maselesele (South Africa): Founder of Salt River High Tutoring and Facebook Community Leadership [Youth] Fellow who built a computer lab for her former high school
  • Korie Betty Maru (Kenya): Founder of Digital Farmers Kenya, a group that shares advice and farming technologies so members can start or improve their agri-businesses and sell produce
  • Gbemisola Boyede (Nigeria): Founder of Ask the Pediatricians (ATP), a Facebook Group that allows parents to ask pediatricians questions about their children, and which holds regular offline outreach programs to promote good health and well-being of children
  • Lusanda Magwape (South Africa): Founder of Dream Factory Foundation, a non-profit that empowers youth-at-risk (13-25 years) to transition successfully into adulthood and make a full contribution to active society

African Founded SMBs

  • Caamo Kane (Senegal): ​​​Founder of Dakar farmers Market, a farmers craft market that promotes local consumption and the well-being of the community
  • Swaady Martin (Pan-Africa): Founder of Yswara, a company that produces and retails extraordinary African teas and accessories created with ingredients from Africa
  • Tosin Oshinowo (Nigeria): Founder of Ile-Ila (House of Lines), a furniture line designed and hand-made in Lagos, which brings contemporary furniture into the local market
  • Rabia Ghoor (South Africa): Founder of SwiitchBeauty, an internet born beauty brand that develops and sells cosmetics, skincare and beauty tools with product ideas crowdsourced from its community
  • ​​​​​​​Cecilia Muyide (Nigeria): Founder of CTAG – Comcolours Teaching Aids & Games, a company that is passionate about making learning fun for kids by providing teaching aids and games to boost learning habits in children
  • Vuuqa (Kenya): Founder of Kiondo, a handwoven handbag made from sisal with leather trimmings, which is indigenous to the Kikuyu and Kamba tribes of Kenya
  • ​​​​​​​Kemi Lewis (Nigeria): Founder of KL’s Naturals, a natural hair salon that caters to the beautiful styling and healthy maintenance of curly, kinky and coily tresses
  • Muthuri Ian​​​​​​​ (Kenya): Founder of Turnup Travel, an agency that organises exotic holidays and themed experiences, aimed at changing the world’s negative perspective of Africa.

The King Baudouin Foundation Honors Founder of WeCyclers, Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola

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On October 25, The King Baudouin Foundation, the leading resource for philanthropic giving to Europe and Africa, held a private dinner at Sea Grill in New York City to honor Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola the founder of WeCyclers. WeCyclers is a Lagos-based social enterprise focused on giving low-income communities in developing countries a chance to capture value from waste and clean up their neighborhoods through an incentive-based recycling program. At the event were the Founder of African Women In Tech, Anie Akpe; Diversity and Inclusion Reporter at Forbes, Ruth Umoh; Tracy Austin, Busie Matsiko-Andan, Michelle Awuku Tatum, Shimite Obialo, Yasmina Edwards, Adey Hailu and founder of the African Women Power Network, Mary Olushoga.


Wefarm secures $13 Million in funding to scale its Smallholder Agricultural Ecosystem

Wefarm.co the digital network for global small-scale agriculture has raised $13 million in a Series A financing round led by Silicon Valley venture capital firm True Ventures.

This financing round will help Wefarm further scale its network of 1.9 million farmers, and its newly created Marketplace, to connect farmers in Africa, even those without internet access, to the information, products and services they need to be more successful. Investing alongside True Ventures are AgFunder and June Fund, among others. The company received significant follow-on investment from LocalGlobe, ADV and Norrsken Foundation.

Founded in 2015, Wefarm is on a mission to create a global eco-system for small-scale agriculture. With more than 1 billion people directly involved in small-scale farming, it is the biggest industry in the world. Wefarm is building the network of trust for those farmers.

Wefarm Marketplace allows farmers to easily access quality products and services, such as seeds, fertilizers and a range of other non-agricultural items from trusted retailers and brands. In line with Wefarm’s bottom-up model, all products, services and retailers on the platform have been recommended by Wefarm users and can even be purchased through SMS.

Disproportionally, smallholder farmers lose too much time and money due to fake or faulty agricultural products. Farm yields in many parts of Africa are just one-fifth of farm yield in the United States or Europe. Poor-quality seeds and fertilisers also limit growth in plants and animals. Given that smallholder farmers grow roughly 70 percent of the world’s food, Wefarm intends to use its technology to help close this yield gap.

The company’s funding announcement coincides with another notable growth milestone of reaching $1 million in total sales from the Wefarm Marketplace in just eight months since launch; that’s faster growth than both Amazon and eBay in their early stages.

With Marketplace sales growing at more than 40 percent month on month, the business is on a rapid growth trajectory. Over the next 12 months it aims to diversify into supporting farmers with both financing and delivery, as well as enabling them to trade the commodities and crops they grow, with the goal of becoming a key part of the global supply chain on behalf of the farmer.

Africa Women Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) Conference Resolution Calls for the Inclusion of Women in the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) Process

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A resolution adopted at the Africa Women Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) 5th Annual Conference & Expo, could have far reaching implications for women economic empowerment in Africa.

The Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum Conference

made history this week when it called for the economic empowerment of women to be linked to the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), at its annual gathering of leading women politicians, businesswomen and entrepreneurs on the continent, 29-30 October 2019, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), Cape Town, South Africa.

The initial call was made by renowned economic activist and social entrepreneur, Wendy Luhabe, from the stage on the first day, for radical action and not just conversation, leading to the adoption on Day 2, by the gathering of influential women of a resolution to be delivered to the Chair of the African Union.

Said Luhabe, the Founder of the Women’s Private Equity Fund and co-founder WINDE: “Women do not get invited when nations are going through transitions. We have to make a space for ourselves.”

The resolution states that: “The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), is a monumental milestone on Africa’s developmental roadmap that must be exploited to the full for intra-Africa trade. It will unleash almost unlimited opportunities, new economies of scale, and income and employment generation through greater market and economic integration.

“We are concerned that if women are not involved in finalising the details of the Agreement, women will be excluded from the opportunities that will be unleashed.”

AWIEF Founder and CEO, Irene Ochem, lauded the occasion as indeed momentous for women on the continent of Africa.

AWIEF, which this year celebrates the 5th anniversary of its benchmarking Conference, Expo and Awards, hosted more than 60 African and global thought leaders across business and politics to share insight and thought leadership. UNECA, World Bank, USAID, CTA, Shell, Nedbank, APO Group headlined the flagship event.

The conference theme this year was, Enhancing Impact: Digitalisation, Investment and Intra-African Trade. The two-day event aimed to promote and accelerate the growth of women-owned and women-led businesses for Africa’s inclusive economic growth; share entrepreneurship trends; connect and network with trailblazers from all over Africa and beyond.

AWIEF 2019 Keynote speakers included Dr Vera Songwe, United Nations Undersecretary General and Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA); Arunma Oteh, Academic Scholar, Oxford University and former Vice President and Treasurer of the World Bank; Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, Chancellor Nelson Mandela University and former Vice President and Special Envoy on gender to the African Development Bank (AfDB).




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