Enygma Ventures is the first venture capital fund of its kind to invest solely in female entrepreneurs within the SADC region.
CAPE TOWN, Wednesday 29 January 2020 – “It is very exciting to be part of a programme that is willing to focus and invest tangibly in women entrepreneurs in Africa,” says Claudia Castellanos. “I feel privileged to be part of the first cohort, like a pioneer in new, unexplored lands!”
Castellanos is the Co-founder and Manging Director of Swaziland based company Black Mamba and one of 11 female entrepreneurs who were selected out of 900 applicants across the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region to receive funding from US based R100 million venture capital fund Enygma Ventures and participate in its first investor-ready programme.
The female entrepreneurs of these 11 companies are from South Africa, Angola, Zambia, Swaziland and Rwanda. They all convened in Cape Town during January 2020 to participate in the venture fund’s open weekend for their investor-ready programme, where they were introduced to the programme and participated in a series of rigorous strategy development sessions. Enygma Ventures Co-founder and General Partner, Sarah Dusek says, “We are delighted to work alongside these 11 companies who are part of our very first cohort. After an intensive period of vetting all the applications we received, we are delighted to be working with these incredible women and their companies. We are eager to demonstrate that women-owned businesses in Africa are extremely investable.”
Generating growth for non-tech companies
“So far, the programme has allowed me to think big, to understand the sort of growth that can be achieved with the right investment, strategy and execution team”, says Castellanos. “It has also allowed me to meet a group of exceptional women entrepreneurs with whom I can share the challenges of running your own business, as well as practical advice and moral support.”
Another female entrepreneur in the cohort, South African influencer relations expert, Caron Williams who founded The Throne Agency concurs with Castellanos, saying she is very excited and grateful for the support: “It’s an amazing opportunity and all the other women who are part of the programme are absolute powerhouses. It’s allowed us to build a tribe of like-minded, driven and passionate female entrepreneurs who are able to support and uplift each other on what is an extremely challenging and often isolating journey.” She shares that what is exciting is how Enygma Ventures is determined to change the way investments are channeled within the region “The current investment climate in South Africa is heavily geared towards fin-tech, so being part of a programme that has opened the door to non-tech start-ups is really refreshing,” says Williams.
Five countries, 11 amazing, scalable businesses
The 11 female entrepreneurs* who were selected to participate in this ground-breaking cohort are:
- Chiinga and Lynn Musonda – Business: Savanna Premium Chocolate; Country – Lusaka, Zambia
- Claudia Castellanos – Business: Black Mamba; Country – Mbabane, Swaziland
- Ego Iwegbu – Business: MsLondon Cosmetics; Country – South Africa, Johannesburg
- Farah Mulji – Business: Educartis; Country – Luanda, Angola
- Evelyn Kaingu – Business: Lupiya; Country – Lusaka, Zambia
- Jeannetta Craigwell-Graham – Business: Waka Global; Country – Kigali, Rwanda
- Liliane Munezero Ndabaneze – Business: WidEnergy Africa Ltd; Country – Lusaka, Zambia
- Megan Faure – Business: Playsense; Country – Cape Town, South Africa
- Nicky Swartz – Business: Spoon Money; Country – South Africa, Cape Town
- Amy Putman – Business: obabyco; Country – South Africa, Cape Town
- Caron Williams – Business: The Throne Agency; Country – Johannesburg, South Africa
The importance of investing in women
On the value of participating in the investor-ready programme, Williams says: “It’s been a greatly enriching experience thus far. I’ve had the opportunity to learn more about equity investments, financial models, scaling, term sheets, etc. and the legalities around them in a transparent and supportive environment which is extremely rare. The programme is really rooted in empowering women with knowledge and resources to further grow our businesses.”
Lelemba Phiri, Enygma Ventures Operating Fund Manager from Africa Trust Group says, “We are very excited to walk alongside these incredible women, help them fine-tune their businesses and go to the next level in expanding and growing their businesses with the necessary training, mentoring and support we provide to them over a three to six-month period.”
Should you require more information, please contact Jabulile Sonya Ngwenya at email@example.com or WhatsApp message her at +27 (0) 76 890 8956.
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