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MENA funds pledge to invest US$70 million in Women-Founded Companies by 2020
Source: Redhill Asia for TBDF , Author: Posted by BI-ME staff
Posted: Mon November 19, 2018 1:25 pm

JORDAN.  The Billion Dollar Fund For Women (TBDF), a consortium of venture funds tackling the gender funding gap for women-founded companies, has secured US$70mn in pledges by Dubai-based venture capital firms Mindshift Capital, Global Ventures and Cairo-based Flat 6 Labs.

Founded by Shelly Porges, Sarah Chen, Anousheh Ansari, Nadereh Chamlou and Anu Jain, TBDF aims to empower female entrepreneurs worldwide.
 
After surpassing the halfway mark - more than US$500mn in pledges - only 3 weeks after their launch in October 2018, TBDF is strengthening their global footprint and widening their investor base by tapping into new markets and mobilizing the local investor scene to gender-diversify their portfolios. 
 
“We are investing in women-led tech companies in the MENA region because they deliver high financial returns and are often undervalued. Arab women entrepreneurs represent an integral part of founders in the region and tend to build businesses around problems that they face in their lives. As a women-led fund manager based in the region, we understand and value these opportunities.” said Heather Henyon, Founding General Partner of Mindshift Capital
 
“Females represent 50% of the world’s population yet their participation in the workforce is nowhere even close to that percentage. Through greater efforts to invest in females we help unlock an enormous economic benefit currently totally under utilised. We owe it to ourselves to change this,” added Dina el-Shenoufy, CIO of Flat6Labs.
 
In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, only 14% of entrepreneurs are women compared to a global average of 17%.[1]  “This lower rate of female founders in the region could be attributed to the lower percentage of women in the finance and investment space, but also to a subconscious bias that women-led companies might not be able to keep up with male-run startups and teams,” said Nadereh Chamlou, Co-Founder at TBDF and former Senior Advisor of the World Bank at the MENAOECD Women's Economic Empowerment Forum.
 
                                              
However, statistics show that women-founded and led companies with diverse teams deliver a 60% higher return[2] compared to male-only teams.
 
Shelly Porges, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at TBDF, at the Annual Summit for the Global Banking Alliance for Women, in Jordan this year, adds, “The Global Banking Alliance for Women (GBA) has long advanced female founders for support from its global network of banks and other international institutions supporting women. As a GBA board member and Managing Partner and Co-Founder of The Billion Dollar Fund for Women, I want to extend my thanks to our MENA-based venture fund partners who have pledged over $70million of investments through 2020 into female-founded enterprises in the region.  Women entrepreneurs in MENA are innovating in a wide array of sectors including education, food, healthcare, agriculture, blockchain and much more. We are pleased to be part of the ecosystem that is changing the paradigm for women in MENA."   The Billion Dollar Fund for Women is continuing to look for institutional investors who are eager to support female-founded companies and to gender-diversify their portfolios. 

Interested VCs, family offices or private investors can learn more about the work and opportunities of TBDF on: www.thebilliondollarfund.org 
 
[1] Forbes Middle East 2018: https://www.forbesmiddleeast.com/en/busting-the-myth-women-led-startupsand-funding/
[2] http://10years.firstround.com/

Photo: For illustration purpose (File photo)

 

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