Ever since it was established, the Case Foundation has been in hot pursuit of “people and ideas that can change the world.” The foundation is steeped in the belief that entrepreneurs, with their passion, drive, and spirit, are a key component to solving complex global challenges and unlocking economic opportunity.
The Case Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurship and Inclusive Entrepreneurship programs have established a few initiatives aimed at mentoring entrepreneurs to lead their businesses on a path to scale and sustainability. In its latest partnership, the Case Foundation has teamed up with the U.S. State Department, the Mara Foundation, and the Global Entrepreneurship Network to nurture female entrepreneurs in Africa.
Announced at the recent GES Youth + Women event, the Women’s Venture Xchange-Africa will begin its proof-of-concept work in 35 countries to test the initiative’s validity. During this time, the Xchange will leverage the already existing networks of female entrepreneurs in each country in order to expand the program across the continent. The full-scale pilot program will take place in Nairobi, Kenya and Kampala, Uganda.
In Africa, female entrepreneurs face a number of social, cultural, and financial challenges—including education and gender inequality, as well as widespread skepticism regarding their business abilities. The goal of Women’s Venture Xchange-Africa is to help budding female entrepreneurs overcome those challenges in order to grow their businesses and reach new markets. The Xchange will focus its attentions on the most promising female entrepreneurs across the continent, offering them information exchange and mentorship opportunities with more mature women-led startups and businesses.
Initially, the Xchange will select four female entrepreneurs to spend one month in other African cities. While there, the women will learn methods of growing their businesses more rapidly through access to a new entrepreneurial networking system and collaboration with other successful business women.
When speaking about the Women’s Venture Xchange-Africa, Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation, said “We are excited about the role this program can play in expanding the untapped potential of women entrepreneurs and expanding an African network of future world changemakers.”
With Africa's economy really humming these days, this initiative could hardly be more timely.