AMI Impact Insights Report: Women create more jobs for women after Business Development Support

15th March 2024

AMI has released new data highlighting key findings related to women entrepreneurs across Africa in a report titled Greenshoots for African female entrepreneurs – with a forest still to grow.
Derived from thousands of enterprises participating in AMI’s practical training programmes, this AMI Impact Insight Report provides evidence that targeted business development support (BDS) is starting to close the gender revenue growth and financing gap for Africa’s women entrepreneurs. The report also highlights the outsized impact of supporting women entrepreneurs – women are significantly more likely to employ women – and provides practical recommendations for designing business support that can further close the gap and minimize the barriers that still exist for women-owned SMEs.

The report highlights 3 key takeaways:

  1. Supporting women entrepreneurs generates outsized impact, especially for other women:
  • Women create more jobs for women

When women’s businesses grow, they create more opportunities for other women.
Women stepped into 63% of new full-time jobs created by business owners who had participated in AMI programmes. Female entrepreneurs created the majority of these positions (58%), despite making up less than half of the AMI cohorts.

Omoyemi Chukwurah, founder of clothing production and retail firm Brand & Stitch, sparked exponential job creation for women in Nigeria after taking the AMI Aspire Business Growth Programme. This includes 52 new net jobs – the majority of which went to women – alongside a 76% increase in revenue.

  • Women upskill and train more women (including those in their supply chains)

In 2022, 49% of participants in AMI’s business growth programme were female – a 4% increase from the previous year. And it’s not just themselves they’re upskilling, but their team, and extends to their supply chains too.

Sarah Mwangi, owner of Sarah Nutrive Supplies, is one such female entrepreneur. Before joining the AMI programme, Sarah says she was running around doing everything in the business.

‘’I knew this was not going to be sustainable… [but now] I can delegate and, honestly, my team is doing a much better job than I did.’’

Recognising the value of upskilling her whole team, Sarah has now grown her one-person business to a multi-branch operation across Nairobi, Westlands and Rongai.

  • Women are particularly active in one of Africa’s most critical sectors – agriculture

Women dominate the agricultural labour force in Africa. If we equip women owned food systems businesses to increase revenue and access finance, we can expect outsized nutrition and food security benefits – moving us closer to an Africa that can feed itself.

Entrepreneurs like Pauline Otila, owner and MD of beekeeping and honey enterprise Apiculture Venture in Kenya, have found AMI tools to be critical to advancing her company’s prospects:

Through this programme I must say I have been empowered in terms of resources to run my business and exposure to be able to look at things differently as an entrepreneur. I’ve now learnt the importance of being up to date with my finances. In case I go looking for an investor or if I want to sell my business I can easily go for it because all our financial records are in place.”

2. To close the growth and financing gender gap, we need targeted BDS designed for ‘women first’. To do this we are:

  • Getting data and evidence
  • Starting at recruitment
  • Making access easy
  • Offering flexibility
  • Building networks and
  • Going beyond building businesses directly to building an ecosystem

3. Business support tailored for women is starting to work: our data shows greenshoots on business growth and financing for W-SMEs

While fewer women-owned SMEs report revenue growth than men, and a lower median revenue is reported, the gender gap for entrepreneurs is closing, with 52% of women reporting revenue growth in 2022 versus 58% of men.

The gap in access to finance is narrowing, although there’s still a lot to do to address the huge disparity in ticket size. In 2022, 39% of women-owned SMEs supported by AMI accessed finance, compared to 40% of men.

Women also seem to access finance more successfully in regions where we have offered targeted investment readiness support– notably West and South Africa – AMI’s female graduates report accessing finance at higher rates than men, when measured in percentage terms rather than dollar terms – though sample sizes were smaller in these geographies

The AMI approach

We’re rallying for a BDS approach that mainstreams gender. And unapologetically so: our work is grounded in data, and the numbers tell us that supporting women in Africa to grow and strengthen their businesses will reap benefits for the entire continent.

Across our 10+ years working with thousands of businesses across the continent, we’ve sought to continuously expand our data collection and analysis capacity – translating to more informed BDS decisions. This has led to the robust services we now offer, such as our innovative ‘train-the-trainer’ model, and specific modules tailored for women entrepreneurs. These have expanded our network and increased the accessibility of critical business tools to women nationwide.

Now, we’re poised to lead sector-wide change.

Are you championing gender-driven initiatives to support SMEs and leaders in the continent? Our AMI team across Africa is ready to help you to scale your support and impact. Let’s champion women and transform the continent together.

Andrea Wariner  – Managing Director, AMI Impact – andrea@africanmanagers.org

Patricia Maina – Lead Partnerships & Gender patricia@africanmanagers.org

Brenda Wandera – Lead Partnerships – Food Systems brenda@africanmanagers.org 

Naomi Kirungu – Lead Partnerships – SME  naomi@africanmanagers.org

Malik Shaffy – Country Lead – Rwanda malik@africanmanagers.org

Theo Mabaso – Country Lead – South Africa theo@africanmangers.org

Sheila Ojei – Country Lead – Nigeria sheila@africanmanagers.org

Mahlet Mekonnen – Country Lead – Ethiopia mahlet@africanmanagers.org

Alvin Katto – Country Lead – Uganda alvin@africanmanagers.org

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