BrandArena: WIC Capital obtains $1 million loan to empower women-led businesses in Francophone Africa

Monday 11 December 2023

WIC Capital obtains $1 million loan to empower women-led businesses in Francophone Africa

WIC Capital has successfully secured a $1 million loan from the FSDAi Nyala Facility to support women-led enterprises across Francophone Africa. The FSDAi Nyala Facility is a collaboration between the Collaborative for Frontier Finance (CFF) and the Facility Manager, Nyala Venture, a Cardano Development and Total Impact Capital Europe joint venture. It is a highly adaptable investment vehicle that is experimenting with unique capital allocation mechanisms for small and growing firms in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The funding is a significant step toward addressing the financial challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in the region, particularly in Senegal, where women comprise 31% of entrepreneurs, primarily engaged in small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs).

Despite their substantial contribution to the entrepreneurial landscape, these women encounter difficulties in securing loans from traditional financial institutions, with only approximately 3.3% successfully accessing financial assistance, according to research conducted by the Women’s Investment Club (WIC).

Evelyne Simpa, Managing Director of WIC Capital, highlights the pressing need for adequate financing for women-led SMEs and emphasizes the additional barriers they face, such as limited access to networks and training opportunities vital for business growth.

Established in 2016 by Thiaba Camara Sy, a former director at Deloitte Senegal, along with three other Senegalese female entrepreneurs, WIC operates with the motto “by women and for women.” The initial goal was to provide financial support to women entrepreneurs in Francophone Africa, starting with Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire. The subsequent launch of the investment fund, WIC Capital, in March 2019, marked a significant step toward realizing this mission.

With the backing of 96 women in Senegal and 25 in Côte d’Ivoire, WIC Capital adopts an investment approach that combines equity and quasi-equity. The fund directs its investments toward companies across various sectors, provided they are founded or led by women, holding a minimum ownership or leadership share of 50% by women or featuring a predominantly female managerial team.

WIC Capital’s previous investments include ventures such as the recycling plant E-COVER, local bakery chain Mburu, the cooking school Les Ateliers de Corinne, and Sarayaa. The recent $1 million loan from FSDAi Nyala Facility further positions WIC Capital to continue making meaningful contributions to the growth and empowerment of women-led businesses in Francophone Africa.

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