WomHub and the Royal Academy of Engineering have announced a five-year extension of the Africa Innovation Fellowship (AIF), the only accelerator to support women who are founders of STEM (science, technology, engineering and manufacturing) businesses across Africa. The programme was designed to support women to develop their businesses and to apply for the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, which aims to stimulate, celebrate and reward innovation and engineering entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa, launched by the Academy in 2014.
AIF 2022 will commence in November and focus on accelerating growth through intensive entrepreneurial support, idea and business incubation, leadership development and networking. To date, AIF has had more than 100 women participating since its inception in 2019.
A number of these founders have featured as finalists in the annual Africa Prize, including Charlette N’Guessan, the first woman to win the Africa Prize for developing a digital verification system that uses artificial intelligence and facial recognition to verify the identities of Africans remotely and in real time.
The Academy and WomHub share a commitment to driving the development of entrepreneurial women in Africa, contributing to social and economic growth, helping to create jobs and building a sustainable society and inclusive economy that works for everyone. Additionally, WomHub now includes its capital partner Five35 Ventures, one of the leading seed-stage gender-lens investors across the continent, as part of the AIF partnership.
“It has been incredible to realise the opportunity to build and support female founders in STEM businesses across Africa. This is how we move the needle forward,” explains Naadiya Moosajee, co-founder at WomHub. “In light of the setbacks of COVID 19 to development and job creation, we are making big bets that female founders can and will get us back on track to support our continental growth and aspirations and to see a partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering grow from strength to strength.”
“The African Innovation Fellowship has successfully supported many entrepreneurs that have created incredible engineering solutions that positively impact their local communities. We’re delighted to continue this partnership with WomHub to provide a unique incubation programme for pioneering women across Africa,” said Alice Radley, Programme Manager for the Africa Prize at the Royal Academy of Engineering.