NEW YORK, NY – May 15, 2020 – An impact-driven non-profit, ImpactHER, has announced the launch of a COVID-19 Expert Matching Program to close the technical gap further widened as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The new initiative will connect experts in consulting, finance, marketing, and technology sectors with scores of women entrepreneurs in Africa to share their expertise to help them cope with the business challenges resulting from the COVID-19 crisis.
Prior to COVID-19 pandemic, the African Development Bank (“AfDB”) reported a $42B financing gap for women-led SMEs, whereas the International Finance Corporation (IFC) observed that 70 per cent of women-owned SMEs in developing countries are underserved or un-served by financial institutions. Sadly, the pandemic has only compounded the situation for these women-led SMEs. In fact, ImpactHER conducted a recent survey in which over 1,300 small and medium-sized women business owners from 30 African countries responded. The results revealed that majority of the respondents require short-term financing for business operations. A large percent of them indicated that they need help with amending their marketing strategies, and others require technological support to transition their businesses to tech-enabled businesses for the post COVID-19 era.
In response to the findings, ImpactHER, which is largely funded by its Founder, Efe Ukala, has already started providing the requisite technical assistance and the organization has given 1,207 of pro bono hours to working with these African women-led SMEs. But that’s not all: the organization has also conducted weekly weekend business resiliency training, helped some women pivot their business models while assisting others to transition online, and sent advocacy letters to 31 African Presidents.
This is a step in the right direction but to scale impact, more experts and industry giants are needed. Ukala said: “In the unfolding crisis, women-owned small and medium sized enterprises are at a higher risk and will be more negatively impacted. There’s a need for all African stakeholders across the world to respond to the economic wrecks that COVID-19 presents. Africa’s recovery hinges on a targeted and intentional response. One such response must be towards Africa’s Small and Medium Enterprises, especially the women-led enterprises given the inequities they experienced prior to COVID-19. African women-led businesses need not only access to capital in the post-COVID-19 era but also technical support.”
Experts who participate in this philanthropy work will be awarded with a COVID-19 Hero Certificate at the end of their volunteer engagement. Individuals and organizations that would like to be matched with a women-led SME to provide the services mentioned above are invited to complete the COVID-19 Expert Matching Form.
Others aware of a women-led SME that needs help, can encourage her to complete the SME Registration Form.
For further information visit: https://www.impacther.org/