The startup ecosystem is typically made up of a network of individuals, from different walks of life with rich experience, connections, and resources, organizations both governmental and non-Governmental who provide support for the creation, growth, and sustenance of innovations.
The individuals in the ecosystem play different roles, some are investors, entrepreneurs, and mentors, among others.
Startups are incubated and accelerated depending on their needs, all of this is to enable and create more enabling premises for the startup to succeed.
One of the world’s most inspiring startup ecosystems is Silicon Valley in the United States, well known for its disruptive innovations and unicorns that impacted the world greatly. There is also Tel Aviv in Israel, a thriving startup ecosystem as well.
Also read, IWD 2023: The Gender Divide in Leadership – Thoughts from African Women in Tech
In Africa, the startup ecosystem is still emerging but is waxing strong as various unicorns have been birthed from different parts of the continent.
The African startup ecosystem is evolving and growing rapidly despite the challenges such as funding and lack of infrastructure, it faces.
All hands have to be on deck to build and grow the ecosystem we want in Africa. Currently, women are significantly underrepresented in the ecosystem, but with the proper encouragement and support that can be managed.
There are diverse and important roles that women should/ought to play in Africa’s emerging startup ecosystem. Some of these include the following:
Innovators: Women are naturally very good innovators, and the African startup ecosystem needs innovators in good numbers. Women will look at a problem and think up different ways of solving that problem.
Entrepreneurs and Founders: Women founders in the African startup ecosystem have been doing tremendously well.
More women are needed to step up and lead businesses and organizations providing solutions and making financial gains, especially solutions around social issues and sustainability.
Investors: There are very few women investors when compared to the number of entire women in the ecosystem.
Also read, IWD 2023: How African Women Leverage Tech to Make Societal Impact
Women can play very important roles as investors as they can provide funds and encourage more women. The few doing this have been successful and this will benefit the entire startup ecosystem.
Mentors: More women mentors will encourage women founders to actively seek mentorship and this will reduce their chances of failing as they would be providing guidance that will enable the mentees to build successful startups.
Incubators and Accelerators: Women can set up and run incubation and accelerator programs for women-led startups. This will provide them with mentorship, network, and other resources they need to succeed.
Policy Advocates and community leaders: Women can position themselves as policy advocates and community leaders.
Advocating for favorable policies and gender-friendly decisions that would enable other women to thrive alongside their male counterparts in the ecosystem.
This will bring lots of benefits to the African startup ecosystem scene, but we need to first encourage women to take this step and support them by providing an environment that would allow for work-life balance, as that is usually the major concern.
Increased awareness and visibility of the opportunities available in the African Startup Ecosystem would serve as a source of encouragement.
Featured Image: TechWomen Nigeria Alumni Conference in 2019
Don’t miss important articles during the week. Subscribe to techbuild.africa weekly digest for updates