Rise, Barclays Africa Group’s fintech innovation hub in Cape Town, is to support five women entrepreneurs in the tech sector by providing a year-long subsidised membership to its co-creation community and workspace.
The Rise hub in Woodstock, Cape Town, is part of a network of seven Rise centres globally, and aims to help small businesses achieve sustainability and growth.
Shirley Gilbey, head of Rise and co-creation at Barclays, said the aim of the new initiative was to lower the barriers to growth for women entrepreneurs by supporting them with access to a space and community that can help fast-track their personal and professional ambitions through mentorship, access to markets, and access to learning and skills development opportunities.
“We specifically selected women entrepreneurs for the important role they play in driving economic growth – research has found that women in developing countries are largely prevented from harnessing their full potential due to a lack of funding, regulatory restrictions, lack of training and socio-cultural restrictions,” she said.
“By providing an enabling environment for these women, we can contribute towards their ability to start and run successful businesses.”
Four startups have been selected to date, namely accelerator programme 88 Business Collective, B2B trading platform Trade Circle, pet-sitting service Minderz, and ed-tech startup Girl Hype.
“Our ultimate objective is to support the power of small businesses,” said Gilbey. “This is co-creation for shared growth.”