Yasmin Belo-Osagie and Afua Osei, founders of She Leads Africa

Entrepreneurship is fashionable, and even more among women. In 2013 the ‘Global Entrepreneurship Monitor’ revealed that 40.7% of women in Nigeria were young entrepreneurs who owned / managed a new business. However, entrepreneurship is still dominated by men, and women always have more challenges in accessing finances. It is precisely to help these young entrepreneurs that Yasmin Belo-Osagie and Afua Osei, two former consultants at McKinsey, created She Leads Africa (SLA) in 2014. The goal: Promote young women’s careers in Africa and give them more visibility. “Women need twice as much preparation when they go to a business meeting or a job interview. This is why we produce content showing them how to prepare for specific situations”, says Yasmin. And they knew how to properly allocate roles between both of them: Afua is responsible for all activities on Internet, while Yasmin coordinates initiatives on the ground.

Pitch and coaching session contest

Two leaders, two actions on the ground. Primarily a pitch contest held once a year, the SLA entrepreneurship showcase. Selected from over 380 candidates from 25 countries, the 6 finalists are invited to Nigeria to present their project to a panel of judges comprising of CEO’s from renowned businesses in the country. In 2014, SLA managed to have Aliko Dangote among the judges!
Benefits include access to potential investors, media exposure, and a $10,000 check. Participating in such competition takes courage, but that’s not all. According to Yasmin “candidates must also do some research. It’s always sad to have candidates who have an interesting project, but are not enough informed to know how to submit their financial projections.” Lack of education or lack of mentor? Several reasons can be found to explain that situation. But Afua and Yasmin want to go even further.

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