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Inside Mining is in the process of putting together the second handbook. The focus of the upcoming issue is women on mining. In line with this topic, the Women in Africa (WIA) initiative launched the WIA 54 programme to empower female African entrepreneurs, including those operating in the mining industry.

Female entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply to the to the WIA 54 programme, a pan-African programme to support and promote women entrepreneurship on the African continent. With the world’s highest rate of women entrepreneurs (24%), Africa has made entrepreneurship the leading factor in emancipation. Launched in 2017, the WIA 54 programme aims to encourage female entrepreneurship in Africa to support this dynamic. This initiative will benefit many female-owned businesses operating across different sectors of the mining industry in South Africa and the rest of the continent.

“The support provided to African women entrepreneurs is crucial and, more than ever, meaningful. Women are the future of Africa and can contribute to the economic and societal stabilization of the continent. I encourage every woman who wants to change the world through entrepreneurship to express her full potential for innovation through the WIA 54 Programme”, Aude de Thuin, founder and chair of the Board of Women in Africa.

The selection campaign started on the 9th of January 2020 and will close on the 9th of February 2020. For one month, all African women who are disrupting the future of the continent through technological innovations are invited to submit their draft pan-African business plan to the Initiative, through the WIA website: https://wia-2020.selecteev.io/apply.

Upon reception of the applications, 54 start-ups will be pre-selected based on their dossiers in 54 African countries by the teams of Roland Berger, who for the past 4 years has identified more than 850 sources across the continent (incubators, innovation centres, institutions…) in order to carry out the selection of WIA 54. Each proposal submitted will be examined according to precise criteria such as the social impact rate of the technologies, products and services proposed, the scalability of the business model and their growth potential, female patronage or the teams’ ability to execute.

In April 2020, an international jury will meet to select the 54 prize-winners from among the shortlisted entrepreneurs.

The winning start-ups will be invited to the WIA Annual Summit to be held in Marrakech in June 2020. They will integrate the WIA link digital platform to access the network of more than 2000 members developed worldwide.

Encouraged and supported by the WIA initiative, they will benefit from a continental and international outreach, a significant networking among leaders and investors, training in one of the Honoris group’s training institutions, business promotion budgets offered by Facebook and visibility on Youtube. The winners will be invited by WIA to a 2-day bootcamp dedicated to entrepreneurship that will allow them to strengthen their projects.

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