E X E C U T I V E S U M M A R Y
THE HIGHLIGHT REEL A qu i ck snapshot of i ns i ght s f rom i nves tor s , ESOs and ent repreneur s sur veys and focus groups
Focus groups show that the skills development needs are more pronounced in the central African region. In addition, given the low partici- pation of females, tailored approaches are usually better tools to respond to the needs of female-operated businesses, and use delivery methods that are more effective for female entrepreneurs such as the use of female coaches. Leveraging on peer-learning to help participants learn with similarly ambitious women entrepreneurs has worked in Southern, East, West and North Africa and could be replicated in Central Africa. Mentorship and coaching also play an integral part in creating and building ESOs and entrepreneurs. These nee have been clearly expressed by ESOs and entrepreneurs. Mentoring and coaching supports to ESOs and entrepreneurs require an approach that integrate strategies to promote the sector specific focus and enterprise development with well targeted instruments that conform to the needs of women entrepreneurs. Emerging practices in Africa include the establishment of mentoring relationships between experienced (such as investors) and novice entrepreneurs. These relationships can increase awareness of entrepreneurship, help with developing entrepreneurial attitudes and provide support and encouragement during business creation and development. The key to a successful mentoring relationship is the quality of the match between the novice entrepreneur (i.e. mentee) and the experienced entrepreneur (i.e. mentor). Past experiences show that mento- ring tends to be very effective, provided that the match between the mentor and the mentee is appropriate, since tailored, individual support is given. As far as women are concerned, tailored business advice through women’s
enterprise / entrepreneurship is important. This is a long-established model in many West and East African countries for better serving the advisory and counselling needs of female entrepreneurs, both helping them to overcome the challenges of starting a new business and obstacles to sustainability and growth. Another approach is the use of role models. Role models have demonstrated an ability to impact an individual’s entrepreneurial propensity, especially through direct interactions. Achieving sustainability is a major and common challenge among ESOs and entrepreneurs. Focus groups indicate that the majority of ESOs and entrepreneurs have limited financial resources to grow and maintain their businesses. While this is common to both men and women across Africa, in many cases this is more significant for female entrepreneurs due to biased economic systems in which women are sidelined in society. In addi- tion, our findings show that early-stage entrepreneurs struggle to move from ‘idea’ to ‘real products’ as they do not have the right technical expertise to develop sellable products. These are some barriers that are hindering the development of sustainable ESOs and entrepreneurs’ businesses. To resolve sustainability related challenges, the most used instruments are grants. The typical grant schemes use some form of selection mechanism (e.g. an application, business plan or idea competition) to select ESOs and entrepreneurs with a reasonable chance of success. More recently we have observed the emergence of venture capitals with keen interest in investing into startups and ESOs.
N E E D S A S S E S S M E N T R E P O R T
Trends and insights from ESOs, entrepreneurs, and investors
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