Qwballies launches startup challenge for queer, non-binary, trans women


Non-profit organisation Queer Women in Business + Allies (Qwballies) is calling on queer African women to apply for its QWB+A Startups Pitch Challenge.

Qwballies said in a statement last month that the online business development programme and pitch competition is the first of its kind on African soil.

Applications for the challenge closes on 30 October. QWB+A said it is looking for seed-stage entrepreneurs with unique ideas, high growth potential and a commitment to advance and enable women in Africa.

The top 10 QWBA+A Startups Pitch Challenge finalists will be invited to pitch for funding at the QWB+A Summit

To be eligible for the challenge, entrepreneurs must meet the following criteria:

  • Directors of the business must be queer women, trans or non-binary entrepreneurs operating for or in the African market including any women lead businesses offering products for the LGBT community and disabled persons.
  • The business must have a minimum viable product
  • The business model must have a social impact focus or benefit

Qwballies co-founder and CEO Kebone Moloko said in the past 15 months the non-profit has built a network of more than 1000 queer women in business and supportive allies.

“We were moved to act when we discovered that 60% of entrepreneurs in our network lack access to business development skills and funding to build successful and sustainable businesses.

“These challenges perpetuate the economic exclusion of our community and limit our contribution to society. Our QWB+A Startups Pitch Challenge drives impact directly to queer women entrepreneurs and sets them up for success,” added Moloko.

The online programme will be held between 4 and 15 November.

Through a two-week online sprint, 60 queer women entrepreneurs will engage in business development coaching sessions from industry experts, investors and successful entrepreneurs.

The programme will help entrepreneurs develop skills and implement business growth opportunities from the perspectives of three key stakeholders, namely their customers, strategic partners and potential investors.

Successful participants will stand a chance to be selected as one of the top 10 startups invited to pitch for funding at the QWB+A Summit to be held on 30 November in Johannesburg.

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