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100 Women To Win Funding of Up to $85,000 from Invest2Impact Competition

The competition is set to start on July 11 and end on November 13.

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100 women entrepreneurs from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ethiopia are set to get funding to the tune of up to $85,000 from a funding competition dubbed Invest2Impact.

Invest2Impact, an initiative from Graça Machel Trust in partnership with FinDev Canada and other finance institutions from the U.K., will see women from each of the participating countries compete for the fund. Only 20 women will be selected from each country.

The initiative was launched on Thursday at an event in Nairobi, Kenya where Graça Machel has visited tghe country to amplify women-led businesses.

Speaking during the event, Graca noted that the decision to focus on women entrepreneurs was made because of the significant contribution that they make to their economies.

“Empower a woman and a whole community will thrive, empowering women benefits everyone and is essential for communities to thrive. Research shows that increasing women’s involvement leads to improved financial management and more sustainable, thriving communities,” she said.

When women-led enterprises are empowered to achieve their full growth potential, they contribute to more job creation, enhanced regional trade, and spur more activity among budding entrepreneurs.

“Through our numerous engagements with women across the continent at the GraçaMachel Trust, we have witnessed the rise of African women who are not content running businesses for subsistence purposes only.

“Some are venturing into sectors that are traditionally male-dominated where their numbers are still small; some are bent on improving their technical knowledge and capacity to tackle even greater challenges impacting the business landscape; and some are engaging in regional trade to maximise their growth potential. The female segment cannot be generalised as ‘niche’ or ‘predictable’,” Mrs. Machel said.

Businesses whose focus are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals; seeking to reduce poverty, increase access to health and education services, reduce hunger and increase food security, promote gender equity, create decent working conditions for their employees and spur economic growth, have a greater chance of being considered for the funding.

Participating women will also benefit with business development services, mentorship programs, new networks and business visibility through partnerships.

To qualify, a business must be led by a woman or women owning at least half of the share-holding and have assets or revenues in excess of $50,000 (Sh5 million). The business must also have been in operation for at least three years and a minimum of five employees.

The Invest2Impact will categorize participants into four “tracks”: 2Xcelerate, 2Xcrowd, 2Xcapital and 2Xcatalyse.

25 finalists will compete for cash prizes of Ksh.8,749,900 ($85,000), recognition at a gala winner’s event and participation in the Invest2Impact funding readiness program.

For the 2Xcrowd track, 25 businesses will receive customized, tailored support and mentorship to implement an Africa or global crowdfunding strategy.

2Xcapital will see 25 applicants who are selected from the Invest2Impact participants benefit from access to funding programs. It is targeting smaller businesses that seek funding less than Ksh.308,700,000 ($3million).

In the final category, 2Xcatalyse, 25 female entrepreneurs will be selected to attend a major international expo, conference or event in their industry sector with sponsored travel, attendance fees and promotional material.

The Invest2Impact competition which will be on an online application portal will open to the public on Monday July 18 and will remain open to applicants for two months.

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