Gapi – Sociedade de Investimentos recently started the pilot phase of a Program for the Promotion and Empowerment of Entrepreneurial Women, which consists of a set of actions that integrate technical and financial assistance to business projects owned and managed by women. This start-up phase involves the five female entrepreneurs from the “SanBio-FemBioBiz-2018”.
Aurora Psico, Gapi’s coordinator of this initiative, stated that “the aim of the program is to increase the participation of women in the economic sphere, and above all the benefit of such participation. And it involves a technical assistance component, which includes support in the transposition of the business idea into a business plan, assistance in the legal, tax, accounting, marketing, among other aspects that will be identified as decisive for the success of each business. The other component is project financing, to be carried out according to the needs and specificities of the business. It can be done through credits, guarantees or even, in the medium term, through financial participation“, he concluded.
The first five projects to be assisted are: INMA Agribusiness company of Iolanda Almeida, that processes and commercializes “Ibo coffee“; Casa do Campo company of Maria Sibia, that produces quail eggs; Elifruta company of Márcia Manjate, that produces fresh fruit juice, without dyes or additives; Anchaa’s Gluten Free company of Ancha Salvador, that produces breads, cookies and snacks for people with intolerance to gluten; and Xikhaba company of Josina Muchanga that produces peanut butter.
António Souto, Chief Executive Officer of Gapi, said that for this pilot phase the institution has already allocated a budget of five million meticais (more than US$ 80 000), of which ten percent, are destined to reward the three best projects. Gapi is in negotiations to extend the budget to this Program, which it hopes to be able to expand later this year. In addition, as it has been doing in other programs, Gapi is open to partnerships with commercial banks to create better conditions for access to finance.
“Throughout the 30 years of its existence, Gapi has always been committed to promoting the national business sector. For this, it combines technical assistance, advisory and training services, with financing services, contributing in the emergence of institutions,” he said. “The way we have fulfilled our mission has evolved in light of the situation and our capabilities.”
António Souto emphasized that “nowadays, where there is a lot of talk about local content, there is a great need to cherish entrepreneurial initiatives owned and run by women throughout the country, even though they generate more than 60 percent of the wealth, the percentage of ownership of this wealth by women is still very low“, he said.
At a meeting held on Friday (August 10th) between the five women entrepreneurs and Gapi, some of the main constraints that have reduced the likelihood of success of small-scale businesses, particularly those that depend on women, have been identified. The management of Gapi started this direct consultation with the entrepreneurs themselves so that the future program responds with concrete actions and relevant for the growth of these companies.
“What Gapi intends with this program is to contribute to gender equality, which implies empowering women, providing them with the necessary conditions for their economic empowerment,” concluded Aurora Psico.