Totally meta: Meet the women supporting other women in 2024

Plus new feature stories about entrepreneurship worldwide

A couple of days ago, I asked Judy Maina, founder of Kenya’s Siafu Leather, about women in entrepreneurship.

Connecting with women and having these conversations has been more challenging than expected.

“I'm surprised by that,” she said.

“Women are in business. If I'm not wrong, the statistics in Kenya say that… 90% of women are in business. What they haven't done is formalise it. 

“So nobody knows about them. Nobody hears about them. And I don't know whether it's Africa or women [in general], but they are not able to go out there and shout and talk about their successes. So they stay muffled under the table.”

We’ve got a lot of work to do. (One of the statistics I found says that 24% of African women start their own business versus only 6% in Europe.)

To a certain extent, it’s unbelievable even to have this conversation in 2024. 

But the only way to change the conversation is to keep telling these stories, to celebrate the brave and inspiring women building businesses in a world where gender roles still come into play.

So, slight change of plans for this week’s issue. 

Kenya’s Sam Ndonga, co-founder at Samawati Capital Partners, and Robin Doenicke from Japan’s Zensho will hang tight to give us room to dedicate another week (like this one and this one) to more women in entrepreneurship worldwide.

Think with Marta Cruz, Argentinian entrepreneur & investor

Marta Cruz is an Argentinian entrepreneur and investor with her hands in multiple businesses dedicated to supporting women in Latin American tech. 

Marta is the co-founder of NXTP Ventures (an accelerator and investment fund) and WeInvest LatAm (a community of women “with decision-making power in VC/PE Funds, Family Offices, and as Angel investors”). She also serves on the boards of multiple companies throughout the Americas.

Here’s a snapshot of Marta’s thoughts about her work

  • Diverse teams and strong leadership are crucial for the success of startups.

  • Investors should look for entrepreneurs with a global vision and a deep understanding of the problem they are solving.

  • Foreign entrepreneurs without a Latin American partner or understanding of the market are less likely to succeed in the region.

  • Supporting and empowering women in the tech industry is essential for creating a more inclusive and thriving ecosystem.

  • Early-stage investment has the potential to generate significant social, environmental, and economic impact.

  • The future of entrepreneurship lies in supporting startups that contribute to the triple impact: social, environmental, and economic.

  • Collaborations and connections between entrepreneurs from different countries can create new opportunities and drive innovation.

Fun facts: WeInvest comprises 324+ female investors across 25 countries, representing 183 funds, $308B in AUM, and approximately 2,000 investments

Because they’re a non-profit organization, they need your help!

Build with Dutch entrepreneur Veroniek Vermeulen

When Dutch entrepreneur Veroniek Vermeulen was 34, she led innovations for a $2 billion Fortune 100 company. 

Picture this: There she was, a Senior Manager in one of the world’s largest corporations. She was geared up to present an idea poised to impact millions of lives and contribute millions of dollars to the company's bottom line — when one of her male colleagues shoved his empty coffee cup toward her and asked for a refill.

That’s the day things really changed for Veroniek.

Experiences like this one and countless stories she has heard from other women inspired Veroniek to build Silatha — a startup that helps create psychologically safe work environments for women.

Get a behind-the-scenes look at how Veroniek is building her business here.

And sign up for their panel discussion if you want to support Silatha’s mission to empower authentic female leadership.

Grow Kenya’s Brendah Mwirichia

Travel some 7,000 kilometers south of Amsterdam (where Veroniek is building Silatha), and you’ll find yourself in Nairobi.

There, in the heart of Kenya’s startup scene, you’ll hear an all-too-familiar story: When the tech industry in Kenya was primarily male-dominated, Brendah Mwirichia navigated boardrooms as the lone female entrepreneur.

"First, it was really disheartening," she recalls. "But I think the will to go forward, a lot of perseverance and determination helped me get through it."

Brendah’s about 12 years into leading the way at her company, Peak & Dale Solutions, and while she’s accomplished a lot in the previous decade-plus, one experience stands out. One experience that helped her grow into the confident and influential leader she is today.

🔎 Watchlist

As I mentioned above, we’ll dive into my interviews with these two gents in an upcoming issue:

Next week, keep an eye out on our website for the next story in our partnership with Founder Institute’s German Chapter: Yascha Roshani, Founder of Honest & Rare

Until next time,

Nolan Bulger

P.S. ContentGrip published a story about Mergerous’s inception, mission, and goals today. Read it here.

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