Sierra Leone’s women represent a large untapped market as emerging business leaders. 52.8% of our youth population are women. Investment in entrepreneurship targeting female as well as male youth is critical to ensure Sierra Leone can harness its demographic dividend.
Entrepreneurship is important from the perspective of job creation, private sector development, and wealth creation. Women’s participation in entrepreneurship can enhance the expansion of these economic goods and simultaneously lead to less inequality.
Businesses owned and managed by women are different from businesses owned and managed by men. The gender specialisation that appears in the labour market is reflected in entrepreneurship as well. Whether this reflects preferences or is the result of constraints placed on women is uncertain.
Increasing women’s participation in entrepreneurship necessitates improved access to credit facilities, and investment in sectors with high job-multiplier effects, including Information and Communications, Technology (ICT), manufacturing, agriculture and agro-industries in order to generate employment and spur inclusive growth.
Sierra Leone’s private sector is characterised by a large number of micro-enterprises, official estimates indicate that only 5 percent of the economic workforce is in paid formal sector. This means that 95 percent of the economy is in the informal sector.
Approximately 84 percent of rural women and 63 percent of urban women operate micro-enterprises such as small-scale farming, table-top trading, artisanal mining, and small-scale fishing.
Avenues by which small business owners can acquire much needed business skills, loan finance and other key financial services are not well developed; demand for business management skills goes unmet.
Global Entrepreneurship Week
During one week each November, thousands of events and competitions in 170 countries inspire millions to engage in entrepreneurial activity while connecting them to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors. Powered by the Kauffman Foundation, the initiative is supported by dozens of world leaders and a network of more than 15,000 partner organisations. GEW is held November 12-18, 2018.
Innovation SL Limited is the affiliate of GEN Global in Sierra Leone (GEN SL) and the national host of GEW Sierra Leone 2018. GEN SL and Innovation SL together with their key partners is organizing a range of activities for GEW in Sierra Leone. One of these will be specifically focused on women in entrepreneurship in Sierra Leone.
Dare 2 Aspire – Women in Entrepreneurship
Dare 2 Aspire – is a day dedicated to women's entrepreneurship in Sierra Leone. It will focus attention on the importance of women’s potential to contribute to the development of the country’s economy.
It will consist of:
1. A pitch night consisting of a panel of women entrepreneurs and women pitchers. 2. A mini expo of women owned businesses 3. Financial inclusion clinic for women entrepreneurs