Female entrepreneurship was the theme discussed on Wednesday, June 29, at DoniLab Bamako as part of its afterwork. As part of its mission to facilitate entrepreneurship in Mali, DoniLab places great importance on female entrepreneurship. This event was therefore for him a pretext to highlight the difficulties but also to share and bring out solutions, concerning the scaling up of women-owned businesses.
Africa has the highest rate of female entrepreneurship in the world at 27%. Women, whether in rural or urban areas, are the most daring entrepreneurs. However, very few women manage to develop their businesses and move into the growth phase.
Does women’s entrepreneurship exist?
The first question of the meeting was why are we still talking about women entrepreneurship. It was concluded that this term does not have to be feminized. There is no specific entrepreneurship for women and another specific one for men. The issues are the same, the rules and the impact on socio-economic development are also the same. Rather, what is needed is to give the same training and development opportunities to women and men.
For this meeting we had the pleasure to receive Assitan SYLLA and SOW Namissa THERA for a feedback.
Assitan SYLLA is Director of Operations in the local subsidiary of the COFINA Group. With a professional career of nearly 23 years, she has accompanied women in the realization, formalization and development of their business projects.
SOW Namissa THERA is a promoter of the clothing brand Ikalook. An entrepreneur since 2013, Namissa is one of those who doesn’t wait for the right time. For her the right moment is that moment when you can take even a small step towards the final goal. She took the time to educate herself, to understand her market and the process of her business. For her, every difficulty is an opportunity to improve and unify her business.
What are the obstacles to the development of women-owned businesses?
The difficulties that women sometimes face are social, financial and educational. In rural areas, women often lack financial literacy, which leads to poor management of their funds. They do not keep accounts and this makes it difficult for them to make financial assessments and access funding from banks and microfinance institutions. In urban areas, they suffer from the social weight and sometimes the lack of support of their immediate environment. Then in a more global way, they lack confidence in themselves.
Women need training and information to better manage and scale up their businesses. Above all, they need to be supported and encouraged in order to face the challenges of entrepreneurship and the social burden, which is becoming more and more guilt-inducing.