New Book Features Untold Stories of Africa’s Women Entrepreneurs

 

Women Creating Wealth features a collection of 60 stories of female business owners from across the continent operating in a diverse range of sectors from fashion to farming

Windhoek, Namibia, July 6, 2017:  When African businesswomen grace the covers of magazines or books, the stories told are more likely to be the big successes in advanced economies and industries. Rarely do inspiring entrepreneurs see a glimpse of themselves in these features, a glance of something achievable, a goal to work towards. Women Creating Wealth changes all that with a diverse selection of personal portraits of women launching and growing businesses in 18 African markets and sectors as far ranging as agri-business, tech, design, and construction. Each woman offers insights into how she got to where she is, the sacrifices she made, and the resources on which she relied for support, as well as tips for those looking to start a business.

“We showcase these models of entrepreneurial successes exactly because they are relatable and replicable,” explains Mrs Graça Machel, whose Trust help finance Women Creating Wealth as part of its initiative to multiply the faces and amplify the voices of women as a force for economic and social transformation on the continent.

“Sharing such stories is an easy but effective way to encourage women of all ages to pursue business and boost economic growth in Africa. The book demonstrates what is possible when you have the resolve to achieve your dreams, the determination to overcome hurdles, and apply creative problem-solving to realise your goals. These women are living proof that with the right combination of skills and strategies and a positive attitude to overcome the survivalist mindset, it is possible to navigate the inevitable twists and turns of the business world successfully.”

Although there is an unparalleled optimism among African women entrepreneurs – compared to anywhere else in the world – about the business opportunities available as well as confidence in their ability to start and grow a business, women-owned formal business rates on the continent remain well below 35% (in the range of 10-15% in sub-Saharan Africa). If Africa is to continue its journey towards prosperity, then women must be fully empowered economically to break free from the confines of traditional, needs-driven businesses, which are micro-to-small scale and not growth oriented. This is because when you put money into women’s hands, you create a knock-on effect as they invest in their children, the community and society at large – they create wealth everywhere. Simply put, when women succeed, everybody flourishes.

The 280-page book features a range of stories from great commercial successes like Bethlehem Alemu Tilahun, founder of soleRebels and the Garden of Coffee in Ethiopia to accomplishments on a less-grand but equally compelling scale such as Grace Nanyonga, a Ugandan who overcame extreme hardship in her youth and today owns Grana Fish supplying supermarkets, restaurants and schools across the country. Written and published by She Inspires Her, an online platform sharing stories of African women entrepreneurs, Women Creating Wealth was funded by a Kickstarter project (of which the Graça Machel Trust was a major funder) that also enabled the distribution of free copies to women entrepreneurial support centres in Kenya, Zambia, and Ethiopia. Design and layout is courtesy of Namibian-based and woman-owned Turipamwe Design. Printed copies are available at sheinspiresher.com/women-creating-wealth/, a downloadable PDF will be available free-of-charge in August.

Women Creating Wealth will be launched at the Graça Machel Trust’s Women Advancing Africa (WAA) forum in Dar-es-Salaam on 9-12 August. WAA is a new Pan-African flagship initiative to acknowledge and celebrate the critical role women play in shaping Africa’s development agenda and driving social and economic transformation.

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