On Tuesday, 12th April 2016, Guaranty Trust Bank plc announced in a press conference that we will be partnering with She Leads Africa (SLA) and Work in Progress! Alliance for a three-month information and business workshop titled She Leads Africa Accelerator, to groom and guide the next generation of Africa’s most promising female entrepreneurs. The programme is designed to equip young entrepreneurs with relevant expertise in business growth, marketing and distribution.
From l-r: Afua Osei of SLA, Alina Vinogradova of VC4Africa, Lolade Fadoju of SME MarketHub, Michael Adeola of Oxfam and Thomas van Halen of VC4Africa
Present at the press conference were representatives of the different organisations involved in the workshop: Afua Osei, co-founder of SLA, Lolade Fadoju, manager of SME MarketHub (GTBank’s e-commerce platform), Thomas van Halen and Alina Vinogradova from VC4Africa and Michael Adeola, business advisor of Oxfam. Each person spoke about their organisations and answered questions from the press.
From l-r: Tolu Onipede of GTBank, Vinogradova, Osei, Fadoju and Adeola
The She Leads Africa Accelerator is a new inclusion to the bouquet of mentorship sessions created by She Leads Africa, a social entrepreneurship enterprise which promotes African businesses engineered by women. Introducing the workshop, Afua Osei explained that “While the pitch competition discovers and funds women-led businesses, the She Leads Africa Accelerator is focused on imparting practical business models that will help these businesses hit their milestones.”
The 90-day workshop will feature a one-week residence for the entrepreneurs to acquire training from the SLA team and a select network of business leaders and experts. After each residency, the entrepreneurs will return home for three weeks to put the skills to practice, a period during which they will be closely monitored and have full access to online resources. The programme will climax with a Demo Day where businesses will pitch to domestic and international investors for a N2,000,000 prize.
For the third year running, GTBank through its e-commerce platform, SME MarketHub has sponsored the She Leads Africa project which has actualized the dreams of Charae Robinson, CEO of Tastemakers Africa, and Kasope Oladipo-Ajayi, CEO of OmoAlata Foods, respective winners of the 2014 and 2015 editions of the She Leads Africa pitch.
Kasope Oladipo-Ajayi, CEO of OmoAlata Foods and 2015 winner of SLA Pitch Competition
Commenting on the information and business workshop, Segun Agbaje, MD/CEO of Guaranty Trust Bank plc believes that “Micro Small and Medium Scale Enterprises are the new drivers of contemporary African economy, and the GTBank’s involvement in this venture is a clear indication of the Bank’s dedication not only to facilitate the growth of small businesses, but creating a unique platform for female entrepreneurs to develop.”
Guaranty Trust Bank plc is one of the few Nigerian financial institutions that have maintained a defined Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy since its inception in 1990. The Bank actively supports numerous programmes across Africa that significantly impacts education and youth development, healthcare, community development, arts and environment.
She.Leads.Africa is a social enterprise dedicated to supporting young African women and their journey towards professional success. The organisation has been featured on CNN, CNBC Africa, Black Enterprise and Fox Business and has more than 30,000 members across Africa. Work in Progress! Alliance is focused on unlocking the economic potential of young women and men in Egypt, Nigeria and Somalia. The project aims to enable them to generate sustainable and living incomes – by finding regular employment or starting enterprises. Alliance partners include Oxfam, VC4Africa and Butterfly Works. As part of the project, VC4Africa will partner with local accelerators and works to strengthen local investor networks.