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WIC Capital gets $1M to provide funding for female-led SMEs in Francophone Africa

WIC Capital has secured a $1 million loan from FSDAi Nyala Facility to invest in female-led businesses in Francophone Africa.

WIC Capital gets $1M to provide funding for female-led SMEs in Francophone Africa
Some members of the Women’s Investment Club Sénégal. Photo credit: WIC Senegal

WIC Capital has secured a £1 million loan from FSDAi Nyala Facility. This funding will enable the collective to invest in more businesses led by women in Francophone Africa.

In Senegal, a Francophone country situated in West Africa, women make up around 31% of entrepreneurs. The majority of these women are actively involved in small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs), and they face challenges when it comes to obtaining loans from financial institutions; only approximately 3.3% of them successfully access such financial assistance, according to research conducted by the Women’s Investment Club (WIC).

"Women-led SMEs are not getting the financing they need to invest in their growth. On top of the financial challenges they face, women entrepreneurs lack access to networks or training opportunities that provide them with the knowledge and assistance necessary to grow their businesses," says Evelyne Simpa, managing director of WIC Capital.

In 2016, Thiaba Camara Sy, a former director at Deloitte Senegal, joined forces with three other Senegalese female entrepreneurs to establish WIC. As per the association's motto, "by women and for women," the objective was for these female investors to offer financial support to women entrepreneurs in Francophone Africa, commencing Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire. They later launched an investment fund, WIC Capital, in March 2019.

Backed by 96 women in Senegal and 25 in Côte d’Ivoire, the WIC Capital Fund invests using a combination of equity and quasi-equity in companies spanning diverse sectors. These companies must be established by women, with a minimum ownership or leadership share of 50% held by women or possess a managerial team predominantly comprised of females.

Previously, the fund has invested in a range of enterprises, including the recycling plant E-COVER, the local bakery chain Mburu, the cooking school Les Ateliers de Corinne, and Sarayaa.

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