Thelma Ekiyor is an investor, entrepreneur, advisor, fundraiser, attorney, and international development expert who is passionate about empowering women, specifically in decision-making. Thelma is the Managing Partner of impact investment platform SME.NG, co-founder of Ebi Fund, CEO of Afrigrants Resources Ltd, and founder of The Funding Space. She has done work in over twenty-two African countries as Senior Consultant to the Africa Union. She has also served as a strategic policy adviser and consultant for UN Women Nigeria on Peace & Security, and a coordinator for Phoebe’s Foundation. She earned her MBA from Imperial College London, her undergraduate degree from the University of Buckingham, and was a Stanford University fellow.
Thelma joins me today to share her insights on starting a business in Africa, specifically in Nigeria. She discusses how the financial landscape plays a role and some of the additional challenges faced by aspiring female entrepreneurs in Africa. Thelma also highlights her initiatives with The Funding Space, including the Youth Innovation Challenge, and the importance of cross-continental investments and collaboration.
“A good entrepreneur should see opportunities – and that’s what Africa provides. Africa is a continent of opportunities.” – Thelma Ekiyor
Listen to the podcast below:
Here’s what you’ll learn in this episode:
- Systemic problems that often lead to conflict and some of the barriers that keep women in poverty
- Thelma’s early work as a peace-builder and her journey to entrepreneurship
- The challenges faced by female entrepreneurs in the United States versus in Africa
- The current financial landscape in Africa and how interest rates impact who can go into business
- How small business owners globally can help support Thelma’s work in Nigeria
- Challenges in Nigeria, including youth unemployment, and Thelma’s goal for The Funding Space this year
- The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It by Paul Collier
Connect with Thelma Ekiyor:
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