FSDAi Nyala Facility Extends $1mn to WIC Capital to Boost Gender Lens Investing

FSDAi Nyala Facility BV has extended a USD 1 million loan to WIC Capital, a local capital provider investing in Senegal and Côte D’Ivoire that focuses on financing women-owned and managed Small and Growing Businesses (SGBs).

WIC Capital is led by Ms. Evelyne Dioh Simpa, a Fund Manager with a wealth of finance experience and supported by a robust team and board.

WIC Capital has a strong alignment with FSDAi Nyala Facility due to its unwavering commitment to promoting access to finance for female owned SGBs needed to expand their businesses.

For example, in Senegal, a mere 3.5% of women entrepreneurs access credit from financial institutions.

WIC Capital focuses exclusively on investing in businesses owned and/ or led by women, demonstrating that the financing gap for female-owned enterprises in West Africa can be addressed.

Furthermore, WIC Capital stands out for its innovative product structures tailored to local SGBs.

Notably, its origins in an exclusive women’s angel network, adds to its uniqueness within the FSDAi Nyala Facility portfolio, making it an invaluable learning opportunity for all investors in the small and growing businesses investing ecosystem.

Women entrepreneurs in Africa not only encounter challenges when it comes to access to finance but also grapple with the scarcity of platforms offering the essential knowledge and assistance required for the expansion of their businesses.

WIC Capital works with early-stage, women-owned/ led enterprises to provide first-time external capital as well as business training and mentorship.

Also, WIC Capital leverages a large network of successful women entrepreneurs and civic leaders to co-fund and support these emerging businesses.

The business training and mentorship is provided by the WIC Académie through a technical assistance program.

Alongside the women’s angel network, other funders of WIC Capital include foundations, multilateral donor agencies, and development financial institutions.

Through its investment in WIC, FSDAi is backing an African women-led capital allocator with deep local angel networks, a creative funding structure and financing solution for small and growing businesses in West Africa. With our investment, WIC can position itself to attract bigger pools of capital to expand its strategy in Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire,” noted Anne-Marie Chidzero, Chief Investment Officer at FSD Africa Investments.

I am proud that the UK is investing US$1 million in WIC Capital through Financial Sector Deepening Africa Investments. I have seen first-hand WIC Capital’s inspiring work and know that they are a deeply impact-focused organisation. They support young female entrepreneurs in a market where access to funding is a huge barrier for their growth. At the heart of building sustainable and inclusive businesses lies the need to advance gender equality through women’s economic empowerment. I look forward to continuing our collaboration to create jobs and empower Senegal’s talented women,” noted Juliette John, UK Ambassador to Senegal. 

FSDAi is playing a critical role in the development of an emerging asset class of small business growth funds Africa, particularly women-led funds. The funding of WIC Capital represents an important confirmation of WIC’s innovative approach to financing early-stage women businesses in West Africa.  By melding their business development services, women investment club mentoring with investment capital, WIC provides a comprehensive approach to the challenges that to date have constrained Africa’s women-led businesses to growth and thrive.  We believe this commitment will be the foundation upon which other DFIs and local institutional capital holders can also provide funding to WIC Capital and other innovative local capital managers seeking to invest in Africa’s women businesses,” noted Drew von Glahn, Executive Director of the Collaborative for Frontier Finance.

WIC Capital’s mission aligns with FSDAi’s desire to address the disfunctions of African capital markets, which include the structural barriers that small businesses face in accessing financing, specifically when they are women led. This partnership will be catalytic in the development of a local capital provider that has the potential to profoundly change the local ecosystem, by providing risk capital and business support to women led small and growing businesses (SGBs), with the ultimate goal of increasing women’s agency and economic benefit. With this investment, we are closing our first fund, and we believe this partnership will help accelerate the mobilization of our second fund to serve SMEs generating a strong impact in Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire,” concluded Evelyne Dioh, Managing Director of WIC Capital.

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