Compared to other regions of the world, sub-Saharan Africa has the highest number of female entrepreneurs. These women are mostly owners of small businesses and local community shops serving the unmet needs of their homes and consumers.

This not only reshapes the incorrect perception that African women  have marginal input in overall economic output, but a socio-economic conscious business environment that includes full support of women entrepreneurs could potentially bring millions out of poverty and reduce an alarming gender income gap seen on the African continent.

A couple of weeks back, I had the opportunity to sample the opinion of some budding female entrepreneurs keen to fill the gap in female empowerment and entrepreneurship in Africa. Their opinions resonate the need for more investment in businesses owned by women.

Women have always played a key role in Africa’s growth. “Africa is definitely rising and women have always played a key role in that growth. There has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur from and working on the continent. The next growth opportunity in many sectors will come from Africa and that is a fantastic opportunity for us as women especially in non-traditional sectors for example Entertainment, Retail, Agriculture and Technology sectors. These are huge opportunities of a lifetime and I foresee more women taking up the mantle and leading this new generation enterprises.” – Oyindamola Honey Oyediyi of Fashpa.com

Women are the corner stone of African economic development. “Women are the corner stone of African economic development and are currently under represented. I think it’s time for a balance in the business arena throughout the continent. Women hold dynamic and valuable characteristics which are an asset to the business terrain.” – Banke Kuku (Banke Kuku Textiles)

Times have changed…It is time for women to bring fresh ideas. “Women have the same rights than men, it’s high time for us to realize that, break the traditions and take power on our fears & destiny. If a woman dares to dream BIG, she can achieve her dreams.” – Nour Drissi of Loue 1 Voiture

Women have the power. “The fact that women control the majority of the purchasing decisions in the household means they have greater influence in the market and ultimately the economy. Women have the power. I believe that regardless of the past injustices, at this stage we are at a point where we have accumulated a sufficient amount of evidence that proves beyond reasonable doubt that women are the future leaders of Africa. Africa needs a Triple Bottom line focus, responsible entrepreneurship and women entrepreneurs are the answer.” – Kega-Florence Mukwevho of MVP Fast Foods

Natural leaders and consensus builders. Women are natural listeners, problem solvers, and consensus builders. These strengths lend themselves to unlocking some of the strains on Africa’s development, particularly as it relates to inclusive growth. Beyond this fact, women and girls in Africa, especially in rural areas, still face inequities in access to education, finance, and opportunity. A bold set of women entrepreneurs who also reach back and work with these communities provide tangible examples of the capacity of women to have a seat at the decision making table and illuminate the possibilities for all women and girls across the continent and in its diaspora. – Cherae Robinson, CEO of Rare Customs.

Poverty reduction and economic empowerment. “Female entrepreneurs have been recognised as an important source of economic growth as they create self employment opportunities for themselves and others, and provide society with different solutions to management, organisation and business problems. With the new wind of air blowing throughout the continent and organisations connecting female entrepreneurs across the continent with networks, sources of capital, operational know-how, female entrepreneurs have no excuse than to take advantage of the new windows of opportunities as female entrepreneurs have the ability to make a particularly strong contribution to the economic well-being of the family and communities, poverty reduction and women’s empowerment, thus contributing to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).” – Winnifred Selby, Co-founder Afrocentric Bamboo Limited.

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