Region
Sub-Saharan Africa

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Climate change and gender inequality are among the world’s most pressing and complex development challenges. Women are catalysts for innovative solutions to tackle climate change. However, their underrepresentation in decision-making processes and labour markets means that women are prevented from fully contributing to climate-related planning, policy-making and implementation. Recently, WUSC joined partners in celebrating the development of a new roadmap for climate finance and marked the culmination of a unique project at the intersection of climate finance and gender implemented by a consortium of partners including ANDE and AKFC and generously funded by Global Affairs Canada. The purpose of the Roadmap is to present recommendations to donors on how to facilitate women climate entrepreneurs’ access to appropriate climate finance, contributing to greater equality and inclusion in sub-Saharan Africa while advancing innovative and transformative women-led climate solutions.

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Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) act as drivers of economic growth due to their positive impact in creating jobs and driving social change. However, their owner-managers (entrepreneurs) generally face a lot of stress in running a business through role conflicts, working long hours, high time pressure, coping with past failures and managing many economic demands. This project examines the impact of a psychosocial intervention on the business performance of female entrepreneurs in Nigeria. This project update shares the methodology used to address this research question and early insights that have emerged so far.

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Entrepreneurs who lead innovative companies and spearhead transformative solutions are needed to address some of the world’s most pressing issues. Endeavor Insight offers in-depth research on innovation and entrepreneurship across agriculture, healthcare, and clean energy sectors, made possible with support from the Lemelson Foundation, and additional funding for agriculture-specific research by Small Foundation.

These studies evaluate the challenges and opportunities for founders creating positive impact in emerging markets, specifically sub-Saharan Africa and India. Based on data from more than 500 innovative companies and interviews with over 130 entrepreneurs, the research draws lessons from high-performing companies, identifies how they are addressing urgent needs, and analyzes the role of ecosystem actors such as support organizations in enabling their success.

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"Entrepreneurship To the Point (eTTP) conducted research in South Africa on accelerating women-owned businesses in male-dominated sectors. To better understand the key barriers to entry and growth that women-owned businesses face in male-dominated sectors, they conducted surveys of 97 women and interviews with 17 women entrepreneurs in the male-dominated sectors in South Africa. The key findings of this report are 1) women’s participation in male-dominated sectors has increased, 2) the increase is driven by women entrepreneurs' passion, 3) but they still face multitudes of challenges in entering the sector and growing their businesses, 4) while the government has pushed for some policy frameworks to support women-owned businesses, 5) women entrepreneurs need both men and women mentors, and 6) there is more need for sector-focused accelerator/incubator programs"

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"In recent decades, the number of female entrepreneurs has grown substantially, particularly in low and middle-income countries. However, the characteristics and performance of female-led ventures differ significantly from those of ventures led by men. A potential reason for this is the lack of clearly defined venture goals, including the profit margin that ventures target. We study the relationship between gender and target margins using a large dataset of ventures located in Latin America and the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa. We find that ventures led only by women are almost five percentage points less likely than male-led ventures to establish target margins, even after controlling for observable venture and founder characteristics. In addition, ventures with only female founders tend to set lower target margins than those with only male founders. These results suggest that policymakers, accelerators, and incubators, can play a major role in supporting female entrepreneurs as they grow their businesses by encouraging women to set clear and realistic target margins to be more successful at raising funds for their ventures."

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