The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) through its institution, COMFWB with support from the NEPAD Spanish Fund for African Women Empowerment (NEPAD Spanish Fund) which is financed by the Kingdom of Spain is implementing the Business Incubator for African Women Entrepreneurs (BIAWE). BIAWE aims to establish and upgrade a network of business incubators in the COMESA region that will contribute to the increased survival and growth of women enterprises. Specifically the project aims to:
BIAWEis a pilot project is aimed at addressing some of the major challenges faced bywomen involved in small and medium scale enterprises. The Business Incubatorfor African Women Entrepreneurs are working environment designed to foster thegrowth of new and emerging small businesses, nurturing young firms, helpingthem to survive and grow during the start-up period when they are mostvulnerable. The business incubators will be designed to;
The project focuses on value added agro-processing, handcrafts and ICT as demand driven and also guided by regional experience and its activities involve training; follow up assessment and support provision, and credit guarantee to assist women to access credit to finance their enterprises, which will focus on providing business incubation services. The entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to select viable business options based on personal interest, regional, national priorities and engage in mentorship of other women entrepreneurs.
COMESA Members States’ Institutions that participating the project implementation are:
BIAWE targeted 145 African Women Entrepreneurs. The new enterprises formed by these 145 women entrepreneurs are expected to generate 580 jobs, assuming 1 enterprise will employ 4 people. Each of the entrepreneurs that will undergo the business incubation program will be expected to mentor 10 entrepreneurs in their countries of residence. Therefore an estimated 1,450 entrepreneurs will benefit indirectly through multiplier effect of the project.
- At least 80% of entrepreneurs successfully complete business incubation training in agro-processing, handcrafts, and ICT.
- At least 60% of the entrepreneurs will access finance through the credit guarantee scheme and/or any other financial institution in the respective member states.
- At least 50% of the incubated women entrepreneurs linked to the public and/or the private sector for enhanced market outlets and ease of access to raw materials and ingredients.