A prestigious IFC ScaleX award has been given to VC4A (https://VC4A.com/), the top platform that supports the startup scene in emerging countries, for its support of women-led firms in obtaining funding after finishing an accelerator program. VC4A was chosen as one of the top 5 accelerators out of 170 by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a part of the World Bank Group.
In emerging nations, there is a sizable gender finance gap that affects female entrepreneurs. Only 11% of seed finance and significantly less later stage funding goes to businesses with women on the founding team. Missed opportunities as a result of the gender finance gap affect both investors and companies.
IFC ScaleX, a global program that aims to improve access to early-stage risk financing for women-led entrepreneurs in emerging economies, was developed by IFC and the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) to assist bridge this gap.
An group that supports entrepreneurs called VC4A developed a special showcase for female-led enterprises in Africa in 2022 after seeing the need to combat gender bias: Women Founder Edition of the VC4A Venture Showcase Africa in 2022. The project seeks to promote high-value venture capital possibilities and aid in the success of these firms. In 2017, the group started presenting businesses from emerging markets, with an emphasis on talent from Africa and Latin America.
The presentation gave 16 female founders of creative, high-growth businesses access to mentorship, technical advice, and networking opportunities with investors.
IFC ScaleX Program Head Loretta Foran states, “We are delighted VC4A has been selected to receive an IFC ScaleX award given the organization’s successful work to help women-led startups access equity financing..”
One of the goals of IFC ScaleX, she explains, is to find and share these best practices so that other accelerators and entrepreneur-support groups around the world can benefit from them and be inspired by them. We will publish brief case studies on each of our grantees for this reason, showcasing their work and outlining crucial factors that contributed to their achievement.
Ben White, the organization’s founder, says: “VC4A started an annual exhibition of companies from emerging markets in 2017, with an emphasis on the best talent in Africa and, more recently, Latin America. About 20% of showcase graduates were women-led firms, and they have already secured close to $40 million in venture financing. With the Women Founder Edition Africa 2022, we sped up these efforts, and the Women Founder Edition LATAM 2023 is currently in the works! The VC4A team puts forth a lot of effort, and ScaleX is a wonderful way to recognize that effort.
The Women Founder Edition assists female-founded firms in connecting with local investors who are actively looking for such businesses. In order to guarantee a stream of qualified candidates, VC4A employed women showcasing alumni as ambassadors and included female investors in the program’s execution. Throughout the process, the investor community plays a crucial role, from recommending firms to offering mentorship and technical support. Sayna, an edtech and talent sourcing business created by Matina Razafimahefa, has benefited greatly from the close ties between VC4A and the venture capital ecosystem. Sayna attracted investments totaling $600,000. Dr. Rasha Rady, the creator of the Egyptian healthtech business Chefaa, is another illustration. Since joining the VC4A Venture Showcase, Chefaa has acquired $2.5 million in investment.
Women-led ventures that have graduated from VC4A’s Venture Showcase have collectively garnered close to $40 million in funding. Latin American-focused exhibition no. 2 is slated for 2023.