Foremost African financial institution, Guaranty Trust Bank plc, has partnered African-focused entrepreneurship accelerator, She Leads Africa (SLA) and the Work in Progress! Alliance (Oxfam and VC4Africa) to launch the She Leads Africa Accelerator, a 3 month program designed to identify, support and fund the next generation of Nigeria’s brightest female entrepreneurs.
The initiative which is a new inclusion to the bouquet of mentorship sessions created by She Leads Africa, is geared towards shining a light on women who are driving Africa’s growth through leadership, commerce and innovation. The event presents a veritable platform for young female entrepreneurs to acquire basic business skills and grow their businesses. In this year’s edition, participants will compete for N2,000,000 in cash prizes, media features in international news outlets, access to online resources and exclusive meetings with top investors.
The 3 month SLA Accelerator will feature a 1-week residency program for budding entrepreneurs to acquire basic business skills with a key focus on growth, marketing and distribution. Upon completing the residency program, the participants will undergo a 3-week practical session to enable them implement their skills. The climax of the event will be a Demo Day where participants can pitch to domestic and international investors for a N2,000,000 cash prize.
For the 3rd year running, GTBank has continued in its support for SMEs and empowerment of budding entrepreneurs such as Charae Robinson, CEO of Tastemakers Africa and Kasope Oladipo-Ajayi, CEO of OmoAlata Foods who emerged respective winners of the 2014 and 2015 editions of the She Leads Africa pitch.
According to Mr. Yasmin Belo-Osagie, co-founder of SLA, “We are delighted to be working with international partners such as GTBank and the Work in Progress! Alliance team in this year’s edition. GTBank has remained our lead sponsor for the last 2 years and we are excited to extend this partnership for a 3rd year.” He further stated that; “GTBank’s continued support for SLA as well as their innovative platforms, such as SME MarketHub, attests to their commitment to support SMEs in Nigeria.”
Speaking at the launch of the event, Mr. Segun Agbaje, the Managing Director/CEO of Guaranty Trust Bank plc said; “The economic growth and development of our continent is largely dependent on how much we empower our women and invest in Small and Medium Enterprises. It is for this reason that we have created the SME MarketHub platform to fulfil the twin objective of facilitating the growth of small businesses and creating a unique platform for female entrepreneurs to thrive.”
Guaranty Trust Bank plc is one of the few Nigerian financial institutions that have maintained a defined Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy since its inception in 1990. The Bank actively supports numerous programmes across Africa that significantly impacts education and youth development, healthcare, community development, arts and environment.