I reached the halfway point on collecting Wimbiz Baseline Member Surveys last Friday. (Hooray!) The survey is a measurement instrument designed by Vital Voices, in partnership with the Africa Businesswomen’s Network, to better access the membership base and programatic impact of each hub.
It aims to collect data on the following topics:
- Basic biographical info (age, family status, etc.)
- Entrepreneurial/corporate activities (business sector, annual revenue or salary, etc.)
- Membership activities (types of programs attended, etc.)
As I begin to sort through the data, I’ve been quite surprised by some of the responses, especially in regard to the following question posed to entrepreneurs: “How did you obtain the initial capital [to start your business]?”
The response options are:
A. Savings B.Loans/gifts from family/friends C. Commercial bank loan D. Grant from organization or government E. Other
Of the 29 completed surveys responses Lend Genius has received thus far, only one female entrepreneurs received their initial funding from a commercial bank loan, seventeen relied upon a combination of family/friend support and personal savings and eleven started their business based upon loans/gifts from friends or family alone.
I am simply astonished by these findings! To put things in persecutive, these women are not small-scale artisans, they are founders of sizable manufacturing, retail, and petroleum corporations. As such, many of them required between 10,000 to 20,000 USD to launch their ventures (several needed more). To think that most of these women acquired the resources they needed from informal social networks alone, is baffling (especially when one takes into account the dollar to naira exchange rate).
On one hand, it’s a pleasant surprise to think that most of the women I’ve surveyed have family and friends that supported their business plans enough to contribute such substantial funds. But on the other, it’s disheartening to think that despite the recent proliferation of micro-credit lending facilities, many female entrepreneurs would still lack access to the funds needed to see their dreams realized, were it not for a strong support system.
Posted By Abisola Adekoya
Posted Jul 27th, 2010