Yesterday the world celebrated International Day of the Girl Child. So imagine our delight in the She Inspires Her: Celebrating African Women Entrepreneurs Book Project going live on Kickstarter. When She Inspires Her first pitched the project to us earlier this year, we were thrilled by the idea of helping to create such a beautiful, useful, and change-making resource for fellow women-lead business right here in Africa.

Pledge your support for the
She Inspires Her Book Project here!

Why is this an important project to support?

Women in sub-Saharan Africa own less than 20% of formal businesses and these are mostly in “female” less-profitable occupations. They dominate the informal sector where businesses tend to be in traditional sectors, poorly paid, micro- to small-scale, and not growth-oriented. They do not create jobs and are not sustainable long term.

In addition to overcoming the structural barriers that keep women from starting up, would-be entrepreneurs need role models to whom they can relate and from whom they can learn. By sharing relatable stories of women entrepreneurs in African markets, this book (to be available in print and FOR FREE on mobile, e-book and PDF formats) will empower women to achieve their economic potential on equal footing with men by promoting entrepreneurship in the formal sector.

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There are currently very few resources sharing positive stories about women “in the middle” achieving success in Africa. Many outside the continent still view it as backward, teeming with violence and poverty. We hear either about micro-entrepreneurs or the big success stories that grace the cover of Forbes Africa. This is despite the fact that – according to the World Bank –Africa has become the second most attractive investment destination in the world, just behind North America. So perceptions really do not match reality. We will show – both readers in developing and developed markets as well as the global banking and investment community – the another side of emerging business in Africa.

Our message articulates that women entrepreneurs possess the abilities, traits and determination to be successful and sustainable business owners and should be given equal access to financing opportunities and resources to grow their businesses.

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2016 UNDP report stated that gender inequality costs sub-Saharan Africa on average $US95 billion a year – that’s 6% of the region’s GDP! For every 1% increase in gender inequality, a nation’s human development index drops by 0.75%. Female entrepreneurs significantly contribute to global economic growth and reduction of poverty. If more women were encouraged to take the leap into entrepreneurship in the formal sector, there would be direct impact in their communities where these women live and choose to invest their profits, in health and education or local goods and services for example. When women succeed economically, everyone benefits.

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What will the book be about?

We will package a collection of about 40 personal stories (possibly more) of women who have started their own businesses in African markets such as South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, Nambia, Zambia and Uganda. Readers will learn about these entrepreneurs’ motivations, the barriers they face, the challenges they have overcome, the resources they used (such as training centers, services, grants, and accelerators) and the plans they have for the future. The stories aim to paint a picture of what differentiates women who go for growth from those who stay small so others can follow suit. We hope the reader will see her own potential in these role models and the possibility to start small and, through hard work and determination, achieve success.

The stories will be accompanied by original illustrations by Namibian artist Gina Mwoombola and photographs of the women featured. It will also contain a list of local resources and websites targeted at women entrepreneurs.

The goal is to publish the book in February 2017.

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Who is involved in producing and distributing this book?

Our video was produced by Create SA in Cape Town, South Africa, a woman-owned marketing and communications agency. Content is taken from the She Inspires Her website which has contributions from a variety of writers. The book will be designed and formatted by woman-owned Turipamwe Design in Windhoek, Namibia and shared/distributed by the following She Inspires Her partners: WECREATE KENYA, WECREATE ZambiaSHE by Spark* (South Africa/Kenya), Village Capital (pan-Africa), GROW Movement (Malawi, Uganda, Rwanda), iHub(Kenya), Arise Women Group (Tanzania), Startup Grind Cape Town (South Africa) Ghana Women in Business & Leadership, Ogunte (global), Afroelle (Kenya), FemTECH (Tanzania, Mozambique, Namibia), BongoHive (Zambia), Kinu Labs (Tanzania), Globally Spotted (global), and Bokamoso Entrepreneurial Centre (Namibia).

Approximate breakdown of costs:

We are asking for $6500 as this will just cover the cost of content; designing and formatting book (print and digital formats); artwork and photography; printing costs (100 books); and distribution (100 books). An infinite number of digital versions are covered by these costs but in order to print and distribute more than 100 books, we need to exceed the budget. We are using print-on-demand technology so there is a possibility to bulk order in batches should we go beyond our goal. If we go way way beyond the goal, we will look into including other language options.

If you are interested in sponsoring this project to distribute more copies to women entrepreneurs in Africa, please contact us. THANK YOU for your support!