Experts list ways women-led businesses can access more funding

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Experts in the digital and financial sectors have listed ways that women can access affordable financial products and services to boost their businesses.

They spoke against the backdrop of low funding for female founded financial technology outfits, evident in the abysmal 3.2 per cent funding awarded to female-led startups out of the whopping $3 billion attracted by Nigerian Fintechs in 2021.

Speaking during the recent 2022 Forbes Leading Women Summit, Dayo Ademola, Managing Director at Branch Nigeria, a leading digital finance app providing a full suite of financial services such as loan and payment solution to individuals, shed light on the large number of women trying to access funding for their business.

Ademola who is championing the chart for venture capitalists and angel investors to direct more funding towards female-led startups said:“A large proportion of the loan applications Branch receives are unsurprisingly from women who need working capital for their micro businesses.”

Speaking on partnerships, Ademola advised women who are looking to grow their businesses and careers to find a mentor.

“You invest in what looks like you and so we need more women-led angel investors and venture capitalists. I think that as human beings, we are geared towards emulating what we see and what we believe to be the pinnacle of achievements. This would ensure women businesses get as much capital as needed,” she said.

Ademola said more work has to be done in creating more spaces for these partnerships to takeoff as this would bring about the kind of growth that needs to happen in the Fintech ecosystem for women.

Odunayo Eweniyi, co-panelist who is also the co-founder of Piggyvest, a digital savings platform, lamented the trend where funding was skewed towards male-led startups in the sector. She said a lot of venture capitalist (VC) have a male-dominated portfolio and would argue that this is due to lack of awareness of female startups in need of funding.


Eweniyi however did not quite agree with this notion as she said venture capitalists need to put in the work to seek out female-owned companies to fund, especially at the early stage.

“Women need that belief capital, same as men, to be able to take these ideas off the ground. It is important that female-led startups are able to access funding at the early stage, as this would help these women founders catch up on their male counterparts at subsequent seed rounds,” she said.

Eweniyi also called for a need to investigate the biases causing VCs to fund male-led companies over their female counterparts as data shows that female-led businesses are performing at the same level as the male-led businesses.

“Not giving women funding is simply just a bad thing because those businesses are not under performing,” she said.

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In recent times, there have been a lot of initiatives for financial inclusion in almost every sector of the Nigerian economy ranging from small scale farmers to petty traders. Financial inclusion generally calls for individuals and businesses to have access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs, however, not much has been done about creating access to funding for women-led businesses.