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The Most Prominent Challenge Female Entrepreneurs Face across Sub-Saharan Africa

The aim of Bayer Foundation is to catalyse advances in science and social innovation for a world with “health for all and hunger for none” by empowering female entrepreneurs to scale their innovations and generate positive social impact in Sub-Saharan Africa. It recently launched a white paper analysing over 500 applications for its Women Empowerment Award to understand their challenges. The insights shed light on how to effectively design and build supporting mechanisms to help female entrepreneurs tackle their specific challenges and empower them as business leaders to scale up innovation. “The answers and insights provided by the female entrepreneurs from 35 countries in the application form were extremely vivid and enlightening – their voices need to be heard by a broader audience. Also, by analysing the applications, we hope to extract insights as objectively as possible to help build effective support mechanisms,” said Dr Monika Lessl, executive director of Bayer Foundation. While the funding gap for female entrepreneurs remains extremely high, the study found that the funding gap gets exacerbated when combined with other issues that affect female entrepreneurs more than male entrepreneurs, such as challenges in building networks, finding mentors, and difficulties with being taken seriously.  The white paper further helped uncover that finding guidance or support through networking and mentoring is a critical need faced by female entrepreneurs. The lack of women in many sectors makes finding contacts and mentors with relevant experience difficult for female entrepreneurs.