She Inspires Her is an online and mobile media platform sharing stories about women entrepreneurs in emerging African markets. As a registered LC3, our mission as a social enterprise is to support the growth of women-owned small and growing businesses in Africa by:
- providing role models and resources to aspiring women business owners,
- connecting women to networks, potential investors and other opportunities,
- promoting women-owned businesses, their products and services, and
- raising awareness about and advocating for the removal of barriers facing female entrepreneurs.
Why is this an important issue?
Female entrepreneurs significantly contribute to global economic growth and reduction of poverty. Women-owned businesses in the United States deliver $3 trillion to the economy, are directly responsible for 23 million jobs, and are growing at double the rate of all companies. And yet women are still half as likely as men to start a business. In emerging markets, although 8-10 million small and medium-sized enterprises are owned by a woman, at least 30% of women are self-employed in the informal sector. In sub-Saharan Africa, that figure is above 70%. You might wonder why that’s a bad thing, they are self-employed after all. But the fact is informal “businesses” tend to be in traditional sectors, home-based, single-individual enterprises, micro- to small-scale, and not growth-oriented. Across the board, the figures are significantly lower for established women-owned businesses, in the range of 10-15% in Sub-Saharan Africa to less than 5% in the Middle East.
The reasons for the dearth of women-owned businesses in the formal sector are numerous but include: social and cultural norms; lack of access to education, skills development and technology; little-to-no financing options; and a biased regulatory environment.
Can you imagine the potential if more women around the world took the leap into entrepreneurship in the formal sector? Think for a moment on the boost that emerging market economies would get from the job, wealth and innovation creation, not to mention the communities in which these women invest and the families they support?
At She Inspires Her, we can imagine the knock-on effect and want to encourage the aspiring entrepreneur to make her dream a reality. By sharing relatable stories of women who have achieved a certain degree of success, we hope to offer role models and lessons for others in emerging markets. We want readers to understand these entrepreneurs’ motivations, the barriers they face, the challenges they have overcome, and the plans they have for the future. Our hope is to paint a picture of what differentiates women who go for growth from those who stay small. We also aim to change people’s perceptions (especially in the banking and investment community) of women entrepreneurs in emerging markets and show they possess the abilities, traits and determination to be successful and sustainable business owners.
Founder, She Inspires Her
January 2017: She Inspires Her’s Kickstarter campaign to write and publish a book of stories about women entrepreneurs was successfully funded. The project is ongoing and we are working with The Graça Machel Trust to complete the book in time for it’s Women Advancing Africa Forum in August 2017.
May 2016: She Inspires Her is proud to announce we have been selected as one of 100 social change organizations selected to join the Praekfelt Foundation Incubator for Free Basics in 2016. Free Basics is an initiative of Facebook’s Internet.org and provides people with access to basic websites on their phone – with no data charges – through partnerships with mobile network operators across the globe. To access content, insert SIM card of participating telecom provider, turn on mobile data (no charges apply but data must be turned on) go to web browser, type www.freebasics.com and accept terms and conditions. Here is the list of African carriers partnering with Free Basics:
- Zambia (Airtel)
- Ghana (Airtel)
- Tanzania (Tigo, Airtel)
- Kenya (Airtel)
- Malawi (TNM, Airtel)
- Senegal (Tigo)
- Angola (Movicel)
- South Africa (Cell C)
- Democratic Republic of Congo (Tigo, Airtel)
- Rwanda (Airtel)
- Liberia (Cellcom)
- Mozambique (Mcel)
- Seychelles (Airtel)
- Guinea (cellcom)
- Niger (Airtel)
- Gabon (Airtel)
- Benin (MTM)
- Mauritania (Mauritel)
- Guinea-Bissau (MTN)
- Madagascar (Blueline)
- Nigeria (Airtel)
Watch this short video to learn more about She Inspires Her.