African women are at the bottom of the food chain in the global tech funding ecosystem. In the 108 months stretching from 2013 to 2021, $1.7 billion in angel investments and Series A investments were made into early-stage startups. Of all that, only 3% found their way to women-led startups. Funding institutions aren’t offering a friendly hand to women either. Women entrepreneurs also often self-select out of the credit market due to systemic gender-bias issues that result in low financial literacy and risk aversion and the gate-keeping of loans through higher interest credit rates for women.
With the odds stacked against them, many women founders have resorted to doing the near-impossible—pulling their businesses by the bootstraps. Bootstrapping as a term dates back to the 19th century and originated from the idea of pulling oneself over a fence by bootstraps. Used in the business landscape, bootstrapping means managing your business with no external funding—just personal finance or money gotten from family, friends, and “fools” brave enough to believe in one’s vision.
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