50+ LBTQ+ women gathered in Cape Town, South Africa for the first Queer Women in Business + Allies chapter event. The need for a safe and inclusive space for African queer women in business was validated and a Cape Town chapter was born.
Our very first annual summit was held in partnership with BMW Joburg City Auto with 120+ queer women attendees and speakers. The first of its kind on African soil. Our organisation was registered as a Non-profit Corporation (2018/634033/08) and later received a Public Benefit Organisation status.
We launched the Startups Pitch Challenge with a cohort of 30 queer women business owners. This 4 week virtual business incubator was fueled by a crowd funding campaign and a grant from The Other Foundation. Since then, we have incubated 56 businesses and funded 12 thanks to additional funding from the Gender Links, Women Voice in Leadership Grant.
Through our business incubators, we discovered that the majority of participating businesses had no access to network, business resources and funding to grow their businesses. This was exacerbated by the impacts of COVID19, resulting in 55% of businesses within our community going out of or being without business.
We realized that there is a need to advance the success and resilience of African LBTQ+ women and non-binary business owners. A a result, we launched QBusiness Academy, an early business incubation and fundraising program for LBTQ+ and non-binary business owners.
There was also a broader call from our community have a more inclusive name that represents all LBTQ+ women and non-binary persons. So, The Q Networq was born.
The Q Networq is among 34 (out of 7800) incredible organisations selected to receive funding and other support from the #GoogleOrgImpactChallenge for Women and Girls by Google.
The Q Networq anounced the launch of the 2023 business cohort for Queer entrepreneurs. The organisation is currently accepting applications for the QBusiness Academy 3-month Cohort until November 30th.