Lwazi Wali, Creating a New Space for WOC Entrepreneurs

In this episode, Zeze interviews Lwazi Wali, a South African investor, entrepreneur, and the founder of H(er)Q. Lwazi talks about the current situation for new businesses and startups in Africa, the barriers faced by women, and the tools that can be used to break these barriers and create our space in the African business world.

Lwazi Wali knows more than most about the many barriers faced by entrepreneurial women in the African continent. As an investor involved in venture capital, she has seen the numbers that show that, while startups and investing are growing in Africa, women continue to face considerable barriers to get funding. They are creating the majority of new businesses, but they lack the funding to scale them and make them grow.

In this episode, Lwazi goes in-depth into the barriers that are holding Black African women back and how we can help make a significant and long-lasting change. She remarks on the importance of uniting as women and creating our own table where we can create opportunities to have access to the necessary funds. Lwazi also provides practical advice on how to present a new product or idea for funding, and how to change the paradigms and societal preconceptions that limit women to this day.

ABOUT Lwazi Wali

Lwazi Wali is a South African fundraiser, investor, an Obama Leader in Africa. Lwazi came back to Africa after studying and living in the US with the goal of helping in the development of venture capital infrastructure in the continent. She is the founder of H(er)Q, a community for women of color that are interested in building a community by and for entrepreneurial women.

Highlights of the episode:

  • Lwazi Wali’s perspective on the current state of venture capitalism in the African continent.
  • The approach to fintech in Africa.
  • How the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need to further develop the digital infrastructure.
  • Lwazi’s decision to go into venture capitalism in Africa.
  • Impacting society in a positive way.
  • The gender differences seen worldwide.
  • While women are starting businesses at a faster rate than men, they are not scaling them.
  • The importance of rethinking and creating systems of capital that support women’s businesses by creating funds led by women.
  • African entrepreneurs often look for investors from the West as local investors tend to be more risk-averse.
  • The three things an entrepreneur needs to be able to provide when looking for funding.
  • The first doors to knock on to be able to raise funding for a business include accelerators and incubators.
  • The far-reaching impact of teaching girls about their potential and possibility to have key roles in the business world.

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