Women Entrepreneurship for Africa


Women Entrepreneurship for Africa announces 120 startups that will take part in a high impact acceleration program

Seedstars Global

JANUARY 12, 2022

The Women Entrepreneurship for Africa (WE4A) program is kicking off with 100 women-led startups selected to join its high-impact program focused on startup growth for employment creation. The initiative focuses on empowering underserved communities in Sub-Saharan Africa comprising women, youth, and the informal sector. Participants will receive €10,000 in grant funding and will be given 3 months of technical support through a virtual acceleration program. To learn more about WE4A, visit safeem.org/women-entrepreneurship-4-africa.



European Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, said: “The European Union is proud to support the Women Entrepreneurship for Africa (WE4A) programme. Empowering women and youth unlocks immense creativity and potential to drive growth. It reduces inequality and creates decent jobs across our neighbouring continent. The EU is committed to supporting small businesses, especially those led by women and young people, which are the backbone of Africa’s economy and long-term growth.”

“The Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) is proud of joining forces with the European Union, the GIZ and the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) in the framework of the “Women Entrepreneurship for Africa'' initiative (WE4A). This action, implemented in the framework of the OACPS-EU Private Sector Development Strategy, shall contribute to the gradual integration of our Member States into the global economy while empowering our women-led MSMEs. The activities implemented in the framework of WE4A, such as the Accelerator programme being launched in collaboration with SAFEEM, shall ensure the personal development and wellbeing of those targeted while at the same time promoting more prosperous and fair societies in our Member States.” Escipión J. Oliveira Gómez, Assistant Secretary General OACPS

WE4A aims to provide female-led startups with enhanced business capacities, access to funding, market opportunities, knowledge enhancement, and technical training through the joint efforts of the European Union (EU), the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), with implementation from the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) (E4D program). Running the acceleration and program components of WE4A is the Swiss Association for Entrepreneurship in Emerging Markets (SAFEEM), a member of the Seedstars Group.

The program aims to inspire and motivate female entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa by providing acceleration and follow-on growth support to ensure that women entrepreneurs can flourish in the region. Additionally, WE4A is set to make an impact on employment creation in communities through enhanced business capacities, access to formal financial services, and integration into local and regional value chains. Through the program, it is estimated that over 147 net new jobs will be created and an estimated 600 jobs will be secured over the course of the program.

The 100 startups selected will receive €10,000 in grant funding along with 3 months of technical support through a virtual acceleration program designed to help them refine their businesses and scale to the next level. The program, implemented by SAFEEM, will include over 30 workshops, expert presentations, and networking sessions. Startups will also be matched with a dedicated mentor for 1:1 meetings, as well as have EiR support in small groups.

“Over our company's history, we have seen that access to high-quality entrepreneurial capacity building as well as the right ecosystem connections is key to startup success and growth. We are excited to put our knowledge and community to use, providing a pathway to success for women entrepreneurs all over Sub-Saharan Africa.” Harry Federspiel, Head of Global Programs

After going through the accelerator, the startups will pitch their solutions in a virtual demo day in front of international investors. Fifteen startups that show the most high-growth potential will then receive follow-on funding of up to €50,000 as well as additional three months of the growth program training designed to take the startups to the next level in their business growth and expansion. It is expected that WE4A will contribute to creating over 1,800 new jobs among women entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa.

For more information about the WE4A program and to access the full list of selected startups participating in the acceleration program’s cohort, visit the website here: safeem.org/women-entrepreneurship-4-africa.



SAFEEM (Swiss Association For Entrepreneurship) is an independent non-profit organization based in Geneva, which was created to support entrepreneurs in emerging markets. The organization is part of the Seedstars Group and works in association with Seedstars is a Swiss-based private company with a similar mission of making an impact on people’s lives in emerging markets through technology and entrepreneurship. For more information, visit https://safeem.org/.


The Member States of the European Union have decided to link together their know-how, resources and destinies. Together, they have built a zone of stability, democracy and sustainable development whilst maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance and individual freedoms. The European Union is committed to sharing its achievements and its values with countries and peoples beyond its borders.


The Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), which became an International Organisation in April 2020, evolved from the ACP Group founded via the Georgetown Agreement in 1975. It is composed of 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific States. The OACPS promotes the sustainable development of our Member-States and their gradual integration into the global economy with the ultimate objective of reducing and eventually eradicating poverty. Youth and Women empowerment are at the center of our actions.


Within the German government, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is responsible for Germany's development policy. The BMZ's task is to determine the objectives of German development policy; to negotiate with about 80 partner countries worldwide regarding bilateral cooperation; and to play a part in shaping multilateral cooperation. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the United Nations forms the international framework for Germany's development policy. A special focus for the BMZ is creating better opportunities in the countries where refugees originate. Other important topics are global food security, sustainable economic development, and climate action. The Ministry has its headquarters in Bonn and Berlin. The BMZ also has some staff seconded to German embassies in its partner countries and to international organisations. For the implementation of its projects, the BMZ relies on the following organisations among others: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), KfW Group, and Engagement Global – Service for Development Initiatives.


The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is a global service provider in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development and international education work, with 23,614 employees. GIZ has over 50 years of experience in a wide variety of areas, including economic development and employment, energy and the environment, and peace and security. Our business volume is around 3.3 billion euros. As a public-benefit federal enterprise, GIZ supports the German Government – in particular the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) – and many public and private sector clients in around 120 countries in achieving their objectives in international cooperation. With this aim, GIZ works together with its partners to develop effective solutions that offer people better prospects and sustainably improve their living conditions.


The Tony Elumelu Foundation is the leading philanthropy empowering African entrepreneurs from all 54 African countries, catalyzing economic growth, driving poverty eradication, and ensuring job creation on the continent.



Elizabeth Jones

Senior Program Manager

[email protected]


Michaela Villaroman
Media Relations

[email protected]

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