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Why Investors Should Care About Women Entrepreneurs in Ghana

Investors looking for lucrative opportunities in Africa could make handsome profits by looking to Ghana’s wealth of women entrepreneurs.

This year, Ghana, a small coastal country of about 29 million people in West Africa, is projected to have the fastest growing economy in the world. It is also among the most visited, cited, and celebrated countries of 2019. In the realm of business, its women entrepreneurs enjoy special status. At 46.4 percent, Ghana has the highest rate of women-owned businesses in the world. In a region that has been typecast as patriarchal, women’s labour force participation in Ghana is an astonishing 96.1 percent. Moreover, perceptions of women entrepreneurs in the country are predominantly positive. 

See women-founded, Ghana-based companies in this Crunchbase list.

Locally, Ghana celebrates its women as the economic lifeline of a country whose economy has generally expanded each year since independence. The reverence for women business owners in the country’s largest markets, Makola and Kejetia, is proof. Now, foreign investors and connectors have a unique opportunity to capitalize on the spotlight and progress made to develop women entrepreneurs internally. For enterprising and attentive investors, there has never been a better time to identify and help scale women-owned businesses in Ghana and the African continent at large. 

My Journey As a Woman Entrepreneur in Ghana 

About four years ago, I moved from New York City to Accra, Ghana to contribute to the country’s nascent yet energetic startup ecosystem. After working for a number of high-growth startups, I cofounded my own enterprise, TalentsinAfrica, in an area I am deeply passionate about – human capital development and deployment in Africa. This work connected me with many more women founders in the country such as Amma Aboagye of The Afropole, Amma Gyampo of AmDeCO, Freda Obeng-Ampofo of Hello Kaeme, Regina Agyare of Soronko Academy, and Viola Labi of Woven

While these enterprises run the gamut in industry, the attributes of the founders are the same: incredibly astute, ambitious, innovative – women. What do we need to make a notable difference in the successful operation of our ventures? Access to affordable capital and connections to strategic industry players around the world. Else, like many of our counterparts, we get stuck in ‘micro’. 

Women Entrepreneurs in Ghana: Stuck in Micro

Research suggests that despite women’s positive participation in Ghana’s business ecosystem, the majority of women entrepreneurs (around 80 percent), are “stuck at the ‘micro’ level”. The UN reports that, “many women entrepreneurs in Ghana are unable to expand because they lack properly coordinated support, cheap and long-term credit, and sufficient access to new technologies. They face poor infrastructure, low capacity and sometimes obstructive government policies.”

Cognizant of these constraints and the meaningful contribution of women entrepreneurs to the country’s business ecosystem, the government of Ghana has begun several initiatives. These include announcements of “a special fund of 10 million cedis (2 million dollars) to support women entrepreneurs”, 2 million cedis (400,000 dollars) fundraising target from individuals and corporate organisations, education initiatives, and special partnerships such as that with CAMFED Ghana and the Mastercard Foundation to support women entrepreneurs. 

Opportunities for Investors in the Ghana Market

As the government, public sector, and development agencies ramp up their efforts in this regard, there remains viable avenues for private investors to coalesce with women entrepreneurs in Ghana to build and bring great ideas and businesses to scale. Largely accepted as the final frontier, African markets provide opportunities for high returns for investors willing to bear the risk and open to counsel and strategic partnerships. As the business case in other developing markets proves, “women are better at reinvesting profits in the business, investing in their families’ health and education, and strengthening local communities.”

Crunchbase provides a list of all Investors Active in Ghana, which also includes notable funding and acquisitions.

Ghana has taken steps forward to a global startup scene by focusing internal efforts on education initiatives and strategic partnerships. However, a push by investors towards capital investing in Ghana could complete the trifecta needed for its women entrepreneurs to move from the micro scale to larger global enterprises.

 

Bridget Boakye is a data scientist, writer, and entrepreneur. She is the cofounder of  TalentsinAfrica, Africans on China, and ChaleKasa. Her enterprises are social impact ventures which together help to address the continent’s youth unemployment crisis and meaningful investment and partnerships in Africa.