This project follows the 2X Invest2Impact business competition created in 2019 to identify and support the growth of roughly 100 high-potential, women-owned small or medium enterprises (SMEs) in five East African countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania.
The project’s main objective is to offer a range of financial and non-financial capacity-building measures to 2X Invest2Impact partner SMEs to help them to address the key challenges they face, particularly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This capacity-building project specifically aims to help participating entrepreneurs overcome the current crisis and support the development of effective business strategies and investment readiness so they can raise the necessary funds to ensure their growth and sustainability.
“The economic empowerment of women and gender equality are at the heart of our investment strategy,” said Yolanda Banks, Principal Advisor at FinDev Canada. “As a founding member of the 2X Challenge and the 2X Invest2Impact initiative, we are proud to lead this new project in collaboration with AFD and Proparco.”
Open Capital Advisors (OCA), a management consulting and finance firm based in Kenya, will implement the support project. Activities will be developed based on the profile, size and investment readiness of participating companies and will consist of customized individual support, group workshops, training sessions and webinars aimed at ensuring investment readiness and sharing knowledge and best practices to address the challenges they face, both in their day-to-day activities and in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Agence Française de Développement will fund the entire project, and its subsidiary, Proparco, will monitor implementation. Gender equality is one of the main priorities of the “100% Social Link” commitment, one of the AFD’s objectives. The AFD aims to achieve 50% of its annual commitments to support projects with a primary or significant objective of promoting gender equality by 2022, and to provide €700 million in grants to projects with a primary objective by the same date.
The business support project will run for 15 months and come to an end in 2022.