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HBSAN, she leads Africa, raise a new generation of angel investors for Africa

By Tobi Awodipe   |   15 October 2016   |   4:17 am

In a bid to encourage and raise new female investors (Angel Investors) for female owned business in Nigeria and Africa, the Business Women Circle of Harvard Business School Association of Nigeria (HBSAN) in partnership with She Leads Africa have joined forces to make this possible.

At an interactive forum held recently in Lagos, investors and business owners met to rub minds together on how to source for funds and practical advice was given through a session led by two panels, the Angel Investing Panel and the Female Entrepreneurs Panel.

Hosted by Barbara Iyayi, the Business Women Circle Manager, HBSAN, the forum was graced with some of the best minds in business who encouraged more women to get into business and equally invest in other women’s businesses.

The Angel Investing Panel consisted of Barbara Iyayi, Regional lead M&A & Investments, Atlas Mara Limited, Biola Alabi, Founder/Managing Partner, Biola Alabi Media, Ndidi Nnoli-Edozien, Founder/President, Growing Businesses Foundation, Mobola Onibonoje, Vice President, Alitheia Capital, Adriana De La Cruz, Founder/Managing Partner, Vaniva and MD/CEO Nigeria, Opportunity Network and Eghosa Omoigui, founder/Managing General Partner of EchoVC Partners.

The Female Entrepreneurs Panel was made up of four young, female entrepreneurs, Afua Osei, Co-Founder, She Leads Africa, Kasope Ladipo-Ajai, CEO, Omo Alata, Chika Uwazie, CEO Talentbase Nigeria and Oyindamola Honey Ogundeyi, CEO, Fashpa.

Speaking to participants, Nnoli-Edozien advised upcoming entrepreneurs to always surround themselves with mentors that inspire. “Women need to know how to invest. Truth is, women have always been the backbone of the economy without having to make much noise. Sustainability is ensuring your business creates value and the core of sustainability is the ability to deliver a product that is lower than the value it is perceived to have at a better price. This should also be done better than the competition over and over again.” She further urged female business owners to not limit themselves to the Nigerian business environment, but think on a global scale.

Biola Alabi, a media expert and a member of the panel, urged upcoming entrepreneurs to go out and ask people to invest in them. Telling participants to ”Start from where you are”, she bemoaned the fact that till date, women are not conditioned to ask for what they want and this has hindered them especially in business and when investing. She urged upcoming entrepreneurs to be willing to learn as one learns daily in business.

Emphasizing on Alabi’s statement, Onibonoje said that women haven’t gotten a lot of investments so far because women have simply not asked for it. “You need to be ambitious, sell yourself and your story. If you can’t convince yourself, how will you convince someone else to believe in you? You need to dream big and people will only invest in you if your vision is bigger than what they can comprehend.”

Omoigui encouraged the upcoming entrepreneurs to be confident and have self-belief, carry out thorough research and be prepared before venturing into business or investing as an Angel Investor. He pointed out that female run businesses constitute 33% of emerging businesses but obtain less than 10% of funds available for start-ups, a worrying statistic that needs to be changed.

The panelists encouraged more women to become angel investors and support legitimate businesses, pointing out that though the seed money might not be much, sometimes, a little push and support is what a lot of startups need to take that first step.

In this article:
Barbara IyayiHBSAN

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