In the wise words of Chimamanda Adichie “We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls: You can have ambition, but not too much, you should aim to be successful, but not too successful Otherwise, you will threaten the man.”. Harsh words, but a very true and relevant reality. She leads Africa is an organization determined to tackling this reality. It was started by a group of young global professionals, who boast experience in Michelle Obama’s communications department and degrees from prestigious universities such as Princeton.

She Leads Africa has launched a business pitch competition for African both on the continent and in the

Diaspora. They have a very strict criterion where all applicants are required to have at least one female founder who is between the ages of 18-35 and must be in the early stage of the start-up process. Additionally the company must have received less than $50,000 in funding and have a live product in the market. “Female entrepreneurs are unfortunately missing from the conversation around Africa’s growth story,”says Afua Osei co-founder of the organization. By ensuring that the 10 finalists that pitch to the panel of judges -which includes the Chairman Etisalat Nigeria, the CEO of InVivo Partners, CEO of Standard Charted just to name a few- all have women with a controlling stake She Leads Africa is working towards fixing the problem. The applicants will submit their business plans direct from to the organization which will then pick 10 finalists who will be matched to professional mentors to help them refine these plans. These 10 finalists will converge in Nigeria where they will make the pitch of their lives.

The whole process is a learning experience thus making simply participating a prize in its own. However just in case you needed some more incentive:
·         Cash prize of 10,000 USD for first place, 5,000 USD for second place
·         Access to prominent venture capitalists, angel investors and other leading professionals to act as mentors and sponsors
·         Consultation on brand development with Etisalat in-house marketing team
·         Free business line for one year (including voice and data)
·         2 meetings with legal advisor from top law firm to discuss incorporation, corporate structures and copyrights
·         Meeting with 2 executive directors of a leading merchant bank to discuss business plans and fund raising
·         6 month access to Capital Square co-working space
·         Interviews with major media outlets.
All interested applicants should go to for more information or alternatively request information as
Photo credits:, LinkedIn

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