SPROWT ARTICLE | Tatiana Alves

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Contributing to an inclusive and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem is everyone's role

The Mozambican entrepreneurial ecosystem, similar to the African one, has been growing, with women playing a significant role in this growth. According to August 2022 data from the World Economic Forum, 58% of African entrepreneurs are women, a significant figure considering that World Bank statistics indicate a prevalence of 33% female entrepreneurs and 77% male entrepreneurs globally. Despite the increasing number of women entrepreneurs, their contribution to the continent’s GDP is only 13% (World Economic Forum, 2022).

The profile of Mozambican women entrepreneurs is diverse, ranging from those in the informal market, who undertake business empirically and still manage to grow in a challenging market, to entrepreneurs who constantly challenge themselves, seek knowledge (technical or managerial), strive to innovate, structure, and adapt their businesses to market challenges. However, these women share common challenges: in addition to business responsibilities, they fulfill social obligations (as women, wives, mothers, and daughters); often engage in other activities such as studying, working as professionals or employees, providing for their families, and facing the specific obstacles of their environment, whether rural or urban. Even with these various roles, they engage in entrepreneurship and try to overcome challenges related to knowledge, market access, lack of awareness of legislation and bureaucracy, and access to financing.

The role of organizations like ideiaLab is to facilitate this journey and support in reducing challenges within the ecosystem. In the last five years, 46% of the total 6,147 empowered entrepreneurs were women. These women contribute significantly to the impact we aim to achieve:

80% of businesses remained active one year after training, demonstrating that the knowledge they acquire is valid in ensuring the success of their initiatives.

45% of empowered entrepreneurs created new jobs, contributing to increased and improved employability.

59% of women entrepreneurs experienced an increase in revenue, directly contributing to improving their living conditions, those of their families, and collaborators.

On November 19, the World Entrepreneurship Day for Women is celebrated globally, for which I am a Lusophone ambassador. In 2022, the theme was “Choose Women’s Businesses,” a call for greater support for women entrepreneurs through direct purchasing, investment, and streamlining bureaucratic processes for their market growth. Choosing women’s businesses actively fights to increase the chances of their growth through inclusive programs that prepare them for a highly competitive market.

Currently, according to the World Bank, women entrepreneurs generate 35% less sales volume than men. This disparity can be reduced if we all commit to empowering more women entrepreneurs in terms of knowledge and business management tools, influencing the review of entrepreneurship facilitation policies (especially female entrepreneurship), and supporting women’s businesses, especially by purchasing their products and services and creating spaces for sharing experiences across different parts of the ecosystem. IdeiaLab’s programs prioritize the creation of network spaces because we believe these mutual learning spaces allow the growth of directly empowered teams and also the entire ecosystem.

The transformation of these data is a challenge assumed by ideiaLab, which has exclusive programs for women, such as FEMTECH – ideiaLab’s program focused on accelerating women’s businesses over 25 years old, with businesses in the market for at least 2 years. We also have several other initiatives focused on supporting SME teams in designing concrete actions for adaptation and remodeling to thrive in a competitive and volatile environment or even stimulate entrepreneurial thinking and turn ideas into concrete actions that allow creating impact and building a business with potential. In addition to these initiatives, we encourage the participation of women in all our programs, always maintaining a target of including 50% of women to create an ecosystem with greater parity of opportunities. The fruits of this investment are already being observed in our projects and programs where we see that when we create opportunities, these women grow, collaborate with each other and with important stakeholders, allowing us to positively transform statistics about entrepreneurship in Mozambique, Africa, and the world.

We have observed the creation of references in our market. Local women entrepreneurs have been transforming lives and showing the potential of their ideas and businesses. In 2022 alone, we witnessed the entry of the brand Black Khakhela, founded by Carmen Miral, into the Amazon catalog, an achievement resulting from significant investments to open doors that were previously closed. We saw BioMec, a business founded by Marta Vánia Uatela, featured in the Global StartUp of the Year and producing prostheses and wheelchairs using plastic taken from Mozambican oceans, expanding the creative and sustainability horizon aspired to by local businesses and beyond. Still, in success stories, we witnessed the arrival of XIBASSILE, a startup with a predominantly female team, reaching the global finals of ClimateLaunchpad, the world’s largest green business competition.

At the end of the day, it is clear that we can only create an ecosystem that flourishes, grows, and opens doors for more people to explore their entrepreneurial potential and turn challenges into opportunities if we invest in the immeasurable potential of women entrepreneurs and choose to do business with women.

About ideiaLab:

IdeiaLab is an entrepreneurship support organization founded in 2010 by two Mozambican entrepreneurs, with the aim of inspiring entrepreneurs, supporting startup development, and accelerating the growth of Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs).

We drive entrepreneurship through targeted incubation, acceleration, training, business advisory, and market access linkages considering the different phases of the entrepreneurial journey: stimulation, activation, and acceleration


● World Economic Forum (2022), How Female-led Startups can transform Africa https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2022/08/how-female-led-start-ups-can-transform-africa/

● Women Entrepreneurship Day (2022), Choose Women https://www.womenseday.org

● World Economic Forum (2022), Here´s what women´s entrepreneurship looks
alike around the world https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2022/07/women-entrepreneurs-gusto-gender/