Looking at how difficult for women to succeed in the society, Dr. Felix King, the convener of Start Up Africa Conference, says this is what motivated him into making available seed funding; a non-refundable support for them.
According to him, he also has other initiatives to also give them exposure for investors. The reason for this ? “It is to make them succeed as women in the society like ours, where by women have to work twice as hard to succeed as their male counterpart”.
In this interview, he explaons why he organising Startups Africa Conference with the aim of bringing together 500 female African startup entrepreneurs and other sundry issues.
We can see the impact of women in the society, and looking at how difficult it is to succeed as women in the society like ours, where by women have to work twice as hard to succeed, and once women are determined, they become solid foundation in the sustainability of the family and the society at large.
The Startups Africa Conference is a 2-day business conference with the aim of bringing together 500 female African startup entrepreneurs, world class mentors, business experts, investors, government leaders and the media to support and encourage female-led businesses. One of the objectives of this programme is to facilitate the growth and success of women-led businesses by providing them with pitching, training, mentorship and networking opportunities.
The Startups Africa Conference is an initiative of Felix King Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that helps African women through different entrepreneurial support programs and ideas that create opportunities for a better community.
The Startups Africa Conference is designed to unite female startup entrepreneurs in all stages of business development, exposing them to topics and subject areas in branding and marketing; networking and business strategy as well as organisational structure and access to market. Participants will acquire new knowledge on actionable strategies to build and grow world-class businesses. The event will feature a keynote address, top-tier speakers, masterclasses, expert discussions and a business-pitching sessions where the winners with revolutionary ideas will win up to $10,000 in seed funding investment.
The pitching session, which will be a live demo, will be business styled reality event and produced for television in front of live audience, judges, investors and media.
The theme of the conference is “Unleashing the Power of Female Entrepreneurs.”
The startups Africa 2020 hub is projected to be the largest gathering of African female entrepreneurs in 2020
Basically, the Felix King Foundation is a platform we created four years ago, which focuses on women related issues. The foundation is helping women to help themselves. When you help women, they are able to help families and that will extend to the community as a whole. So, over the four years, we have done a whole lot. We started by helping widows and till now, we have been able to help about five thousand widows across the country by providing them with market money, cooperative farming and more. But at the beginning of 2019, we initiated ‘The Start of African’, which is a platform that will help African female entrepreneurs.
Why only female entrepreneur
I have a very soft spot for women because we all can see their impact in the society, and looking at how difficult it is to succeed as women in the society like ours, where by women have to work twice as hard to succeed, and once women are determined, they become solid foundation in the sustainability of the family and the society at large. We also look at our culture and tried to look at what happened in Iran. Also, we tried to look at the challenges women go through during widowhood, which is not palatable. Women are very vulnerable and have lots of responsibilities like taking care of the children.
Basically, the market money project is 100 percent Nigeria, but the entrepreneurship is open to any woman who is an African. Africa is one. For example, a Ghanaian woman who resides in Nigeria and has the idea that can change her life, we are not going to say because she’s not holding a Nigerian passport, she can’t use her idea to improve the community.
We will start an entrepreneurship hub that will give women that have great business ideas the opportunity to summit their proposals and they will be checked the judges who will look at how those ideas are good enough to be brought to life and make a living for another woman. We will also provide the platform for training them, with the help of some foreign organisations. Today, every woman out there is hustling, but they don’t know how to make the hustle a business. We are going to organize an online and offline training, to train them on how to start up a business.
How many women are you going to empower?
Okay, it’s a two-way thing, when you create an empowerment for people, it could be for exposure and for skills too. In this, we have seed funding; it’s a non-refundable support and the other aspect, which is exposure for investors. So, if you have a hundred people coming to pitch their ideas, then 10 persons’ ideas pitched to the board are great enough and we’ll support them with about five to 10 thousand dollars. That is the idea. They are in two segments: seed funding and exposure to investors.
How will you get your return on investment?
The Felix King Foundation is a non-profitable Foundation and is not a social enterprise, so funds are already allocated yearly in dealing with women-related issues. This, we have been doing for four years, so Start Up Africa is just an extension for African women.
We are not just going to give the money to them; we are going to mentor and also monitor them. Looking at how human being is structured, a lot of distractions could set in. So, it’s going to be like a bank loan of a thing. Bank wouldn’t give you a loan to go and sleep. So, this is broken into three steps: one is for the start up, then we have the incubation stage and the notch stage. It will be broken down to 40-30-30 percent just to ensure the person is using it for the right purposes. It will be properly monitored. The Foundation will have relationship with the third party directly to ensure our objectives are met, which is helping women to be themselves, because your idea must be able to provide job for another woman. That is the concept. It’s one hundred percent female-centric.
The people we would have as our judges are experienced people. They are three. For the judges, we have very knowledgeable people.
When and where is the conference holding?
The conference themed: “Unleashing the Power of Female Entrepreneurs” is taking place on March 27 and 28, 2020 at Balmoral Convention Centre, Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. The first day will be the conference and the next day will be master class. The second day will be the live demo where the women are going to pitch before the judges.