To support female-led tech startups in Nigeria, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and FSDH Merchant Bank have partnered to launch the Female Founders Growth Programme. The Female Founders Growth Programme is designed to empower these high-potential companies seeking to secure investment capital with comprehensive capacity-building support. The program will be jointly delivered by the IFC and WEAV Capital. 

Selected startups will participate in customized, intensive workshops focused on improving their business model, developing their fundraising strategy, and preparing their data room for investors. Selected startups will also undergo comprehensive training on financial management, cash flow optimization, and investment readiness for both equity and debt funding. 

Participants will also gain access to:

  • Weekly one-on-one sessions with a business coach from leading global institutions.
  • Expert consultation hours with seasoned subject matter experts across various fields. 
  • Networking with leading investors in venture capital and venture debt.

The 6-week virtual program will commence in mid-October and end in November, culminating in a Demo-day showcase where founders will have the opportunity to pitch to a pool of investors, accelerators, and business leaders. The top pitch will win non-equity funding of $10,000. Additionally, all selected start-ups will have the opportunity to connect with and potentially receive funding from other participating investors in the program. 

To be eligible for the program, companies need to meet the following criteria:

  • Have a female founder or co-founder (at least one female needs to be on the founding team)
  • A technology or technology-enabled business in any sector
  • Have a Minimum Viable Product and some initial users
  • Achieved annual revenues between $20,000 and $1,000,000
  • Received less than $500,000 in funding to date
  • Been in operation for more than a year, but less than 5 years
  • An early stage (pre-seed or seed) company seeking to raise an institutional round of funding to develop their product for the next stage of growth

Application window for the program closes on October 6th, 2023. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, and applicants are encouraged to submit their applications early. 

About IFC

IFC — a member of the World Bank Group — is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2023, IFC committed a record $43.7 billion to private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity as economies grapple with the impacts of global compounding crises. 

About FSDH

FSDH Merchant Bank is Nigeria’s premier merchant bank with a history spanning over three decades. Through the FSDH Women-in-Business Initiative, FSDH is committed to investing in and supporting female-led companies, and their founders across Nigeria. 

About WEAV Capital

WEAV Capital is a pre-seed and seed stage accelerator and venture capital fund dedicated to funding and supporting category leading female-led startups across Africa.

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