Female startups fight ‘Tomato Seller’ cliche for funds in Africa

Capria on

May 16, 2022

Africa’s female entrepreneurs, like their U.S. and European counterparts, are underrepresented when it comes to raising funds. Their start-up journeys are also often a lot more arduous, say investors like Polo Leteka, co-founder of Alitheia IDF, the continent’s largest gender-led fund.

The issues are “probably more pronounced here because we have more underlying problems,” said Leteka, pointing to her own experience with tapping investors for funds. “There was this mentality that African women are just supposed to sell tomatoes on the side of the road.”

While surmounting such stereotypes is getting easier, huge barriers remain. For every $1 invested in women, $25 goes to men in the African startup space, according to the World Bank.

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