2023 Mentor-Driven Capital Africa Program now open

Participate in the 2023 Mentor-Driven Capital Africa Program for women in leadership, who are interested in mentoring the next generation of successful African startups – Apply here.

It is no secret that women-led companies provide a higher return on investment (up to twice as much according to BCG1) than their male counterparts. In addition, women-led businesses have a greater societal impact as women tend to spend a higher percentage of their earnings on purchases beneficial to their families, friends and social circles.2 At the same time, the number of women-led startups that carry on to successfully attract scale-up funding is extremely low. Research by Africa: The Big Deal shows that in 2022 only 1,8% of funding attracted by African startups went to businesses with female founders (up from 0,9% in 2021).

One potential reason is the limited representation of women in key roles in investment funds, angel networks, entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs) and mentor networks. A recent study conducted by ABAN and Briter Bridges – the African Angel Investment Survey 2022, found that only 9% of the 400 active angel investors in their database in Africa are women.3  While there is significant attention going into the strengthening of women representation in centralized structures like venture capital funds and ESOs, more decentralized networks like angel and mentor networks receive less attention. Organizations like the African Women Leadership Fund, Women in African Investments, African Women Impact Fund, and 2X Collaborative are working to change this by supporting and empowering women in the African startup ecosystem.

Women in the lead for the 2023 edition of the VC4A Mentor-Driven Capital Africa

At the 2022 Afrilabs Annual Gathering, VC4A and its Work in Progress (WiP) partners – IceAlex, She Leads Africa, and Innovate Ventures – came together with nearly 100 representatives of ESOs and innovation hubs to share insights and lessons learned from running women-focused programs. It was an inspiring and empowering discussion that highlighted the incredible progress and success of these initiatives in supporting and uplifting women in the African startup ecosystem. After a thoughtful and engaging discussion, the group concluded that the key to a successful program is ensuring that women feel represented and recognized, that activities are tailored to their needs, and that there is a strong emphasis on building networks. Based on these recommendations, VC4A decided to dedicate this year’s edition of the Mentor-Driven Capital (MDC) Africa program entirely to aspiring and established women mentors. 

What is the VC4A Mentor-Driven Capital (MDC) Program?

‘Mentor-driven capital’ is one of VC4A’s approaches to creating value for startup ecosystems around the world. The goal behind the pan-African program is to empower aspiring and existing business mentors with the tools they need to better support promising startup founders to successfully grow their companies to the next stage. Powered by the Work in Progress! Alliance, funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with Oxfam being the lead program implementer, VC4A does not charge mentors who wish to join the program. Other key 2023 partners include ICEAlex, She Leads Africa, Innovate Ventures, Rising Tide Africa, ShEquity, Tiye Angels, Dazzle Angels, Impact Hub Abidjan, Betacube and Nairobi Business Angels among others.

Who is MDC Africa 2023 looking for?
MDC Africa 2023 is seeking women who meet the following requirements:

  • Established business professionals, successful entrepreneurs, or (angel) investors
  • Interest in playing a bigger role in the African startup ecosystem
  • Desire to make a tangible difference in the lives of starting entrepreneurs
  • Based in Africa or closely affiliated with the continent
  • Available to spend 4-5 hours per month for approximately 2 months (late February to April 2023) participating in online training, expert sessions, and group discussions.

What are the benefits and opportunities for you as a participant in MDC Africa 2023?

  • Attend hands-on training and expert sessions.
  • Group mentor reflections – learn from your peers
  • Access best-in-class mentorship guide and online training materials
  • Build your own skills and capacity as a startup mentor
  • Join a pool of global mentors and experts and showcase yourself
  • Find ventures suitable for your skills and expertise through the VC4A Mentorship Marketplace.

Interested applicants can find more info and apply directly here: Mentor-Driven Capital Africa program 2023. Deadline for the call for applications is January 31st, 2023

For more information or to partner with VC4A on the MDC Africa program, please contact Akram at akram[at]vc4a[dot]com or Boyewa at boyewa[at]vc4a[dot]com.


  1. https://www.bcg.com/publications/2018/why-women-owned-startups-are-better-bet
  2. https://thebigdeal.substack.com/p/any-seats-for-women-on-that-rocket
  3. The 2021 edition of the same research did not yet report on the split between female versus male angel investors active in Africa.