Women Entrepreneurs Continue To Face Bias – #SMELink2022

Andia Laura – Investment Director Graca Machel Trust

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 12 – Women Entrepreneurs in Africa continue to experience biases, limiting their growth. 

Graca Machel Trust Investment Director Andia Laura says capital raising is one of the major sectors women are experiencing the most bias. 

She urged investors around the globe to use gender lens investing as it could increase growth prospects for women owned and women led businesses. 

Gender Lens Investing is an impact investment strategy which deliberately integrates gender analysis into investment analysis and decision-making. It has garnered increased global attention in recent years, as investors seek to bring new dimensions to the nature of their investments.

“The capital raising process itself can be biased against women. Women entrepreneurs often need to meet higher standards in order to be considered worthy of investment and are frequently questioned about their abilities or commitment to running a business,” Laura said ahead of the SMELink Conference, slated for April 20 – 22, 2022 at the Movenpick Hotel in Nairobi. 

Gender lens investing will be among the topics of discussion at the conference. 

“The impact of more women in decision-making positions at venture capital funds, private equity funds, banks and other funding institutions is multifold. First, it will help to counter the biases currently locking female founders out of formal funding and is likely to grow the number of female founded businesses,” she explained.The conference brings together all stakeholders in the SME sector in order to equip, empower and enable MSMEs to access business opportunities placing focus on youth and women-owned businesses to be part of the continental market equation.

Renowned entrepreneur Vusi Thembekwayo will be the Keynote speaker at the conference. 

Tickets are available here https://conference.smelink.app/

Other key topics to be addressed include Intra Africa Trade and the opportunities at the Africa Continental Free Trade Africa (AfCFTA), Thriving Trade Requirements to foster friendly relations with regulators, resilience and recovery from impact of Pandemic, role of technology in scaling businesses, Role of FinTech in turning SME’s into thriving Enterprises among others. 

SMEs attending the conference will also have the pleasure of listening to other notable key speakers including Kris Senanu Chief Enterprise Business Officer, Safaricom, Andia Chakava, Founding Principal of AC AdvisoryDirector at the Graça Machel, Trust and founding Chairperson of New Faces New Voices Kenya chapter, Eric Osiakwan, Managing Partner, Chanzo Capital,Flora Mutahi Founder Melvin Marsh International, Samchi Group CEO Esther Muchemi, Geofrey Odundo CEO Nairobi Securities Exchange, David Osiany Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Industrialization Trade and Enterprise Development as well as James Mureu Micro and Small Business Authority Board Chairman among others.

There will be pitching sessions for SMEs dubbed Rhino’s Den where SMEs stand a chance to be the first firms placed on the investor track on the SMELink platform for funding.