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"The evidence is indisputable: high-growth scaling ventures are game changers. Scale-ups are the ventures that:

Create the vast majority of new jobs in an economy;
Generate the most value in the form of financial, economic and social returns;
Drive innovation and shape ecosystems;
Incubate and develop talent pipelines; and
Spawn the next generation of thriving scale-ups and the experienced entrepreneurs that create them.

Africa needs more startups that transition to scale. Many more.

But scaling is rare. And difficult. All the more so in sub-Saharan Africa, where large populations do not equate to large addressable markets, necessitating very early (and risky) expansion into new markets in search of the critical mass of customers needed to raise funding and scale a business.

Whilst there are some universal scaling principles that can and should be applied, there isn’t a formula for scaling. Because it isn’t pure science. On the contrary, scaling is predominantly an art: a unique blend of inputs, decisions and actions that is different for each scaling business."


Extant research results illustrate that women are roughly half as likely to become entrepreneurs as men (Kauffman Compilation: Research on Gender and Entrepreneurship, 2016). However, women may see themselves fit in traditionally male jobs when the language used in the job advertisement is communal in nature (Gaucher, 2011), and vice versa. To empirically test this idea, the authors first sought to understand if there were any gender biases in the accelerators’ calls for applications using a validated scale of masculine and feminine words. They found a higher percentage of feminine words across most regions, which is in the opposite direction of what was expected. Second, the authors manipulated the language used in an accelerator program call for application (1) with the percentage of gendered words found from the accelerators on the ANDE list (3-4%) and (2) an exaggerated percentage of gendered words (9%), to see how it affected women and men’s perceptions of the accelerator program. In general, men in the U.S. express high entrepreneurial fit, sense of belonging, and application success possibly because the U.S. is high on both individualism and masculinity on Hoefstede’s country culture dimensions. However, women in Latin America report results that are opposite to men in the United States.

Gold Coast, Ghana

The 2022 conference themed “Accelerating SGB Growth in Africa” will focus on critical talent challenges in the SGB sector, as well as how SGBs can help developing economies achieve the U.N. SDGs.


"In 2018, the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), with the support of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), launched the Gender Lens Impact Measurement (GLIM) Fund to enhance the awareness, rigor, and quality of impact measurement for organizations supporting entrepreneurs with a gender lens approach. Each grant from the fund went to a partnership between small and growing business (SGB) support organizations in Latin America and researchers to use measurement for driving improved gender-inclusive strategies. This synthesis report summarises the tools and lessons from these grants on using measurement to increase gender inclusion for SGB support organizations."