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Members of the WAI Group gathered at the annual convening of the Collaborative for Frontier Finance’s Early Stage Capital Providers network in Dar Es Salaam, June 2022.

Small Foundation announces partnership with the WAI and AWI networks

This International Women’s Day, Small Foundation is delighted to announce a deepened partnership with the Women in African Investments (WAI) and Advancing Women in Investing (AWI) networks. Over the next two years we will support the networks as they deepen member engagement, identify systemic challenges, and catalyse collaborative activities to address those challenges across the African investment capital spectrum.

WAI is a network of over 200 senior women investment professionals focused on Africa. A ground-up organisation, its mission is to support its members through networking, knowledge-sharing and awareness-building to catalyse gender-equitable economic growth in Africa. WAI helps to make female fund managers visible, hold the investment industry accountable and combats inequalities in access to capital. Members include senior executives at DFIs, PE/VC funds, philanthropic funds, fintech intermediaries, family offices and market development organisations.

Small Foundation previously partnered with WAI to support its first Impact Report, launched this time last year. Over the coming two years, Small Foundation will support WAI as it seeks to enhance its collaborative infrastructure, alongside strengthened membership engagement.

Elizabeth Howard, Founder and Network Manager of WAI, said:

“The WAI Group has evolved into a network of tremendous impact, learning and support for women who have dedicated their careers to investing in Africa. The relentless commitment of its members to shape the way capital is allocated in the next decades is inspiring. As a collective, the WAI Group can transform and accelerate these individual efforts into change that is meaningful at industry level. In Small Foundation we have found a partner that is equally committed to learning how exactly impact networks catalyse this system-level change. We are delighted to be on this journey together.”

A sister network of WAI, AWI is a collaborative network of more than 80 first-time and emerging female investment vehicle managers seeking to democratise access to funding and opportunity. AWI supports and accelerates the development of its members in pursuit of a more diverse, equitable and inclusive investing ecosystem. AWI members utilise a broad spectrum of strategies to target high-quality private investment opportunities on the African continent, many of which have been showcased by AWI.

Lisa G. Thomas, Founder and Network Manager of AWI, said:

Women hold less than 10% of senior investment roles globally with an even fewer number launching their own investment vehicles. The AWI Group is working to raise the profile of talented female capital movers and utilizing its network to facilitate access to funding and resources. Through collaboration and support, our group members support each other to develop innovative investment vehicles to fund the companies of the future. We are excited to have a partner like Small Foundation to help us quicken the pace of change toward an equitable and diverse investment ecosystem.”

Drawing on the membership of both WAI and AWI, Small Foundation is particularly excited to support the design of a track record facility. A collaboration with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH within the framework of the special initiative ‘Decent Work for a Just Transition‘ of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), this warehousing facility will facilitate the access to capital and infrastructure needed for women fund managers to demonstrate their skill, experience, and capacity.

Image: Members of the WAI Group gathered at the annual convening of the Collaborative for Frontier Finance’s
Early Stage Capital Providers network in Dar Es Salaam, June 2022.

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