SOUTH AFRICA – Enygma Ventures, an investment company that operates in Africa, Europe, and the United States has launched a US$6.8 million fund to support female-owned startups in South Africa. The launch was in a bid to close the funding gap for female entrepreneurs in the country.

The US-based Enygma Ventures has been founded by award winning entrepreneurs Sarah and Jacob Dusek and is aimed at empowering, mentoring, and capitalising outstanding female entrepreneurs in Southern Africa.

The CEO of Enygma Ventures, Sarah Dusek described the fund to combat the difficulties encountered by women when launching out into the business world. These, including her experience when she was starting as an entrepreneur, spurred her to create the VC to provide tailored support.

With an initial size of US$6.75m, the fund hopes to close the funding gap for women in the region and has a wide sector focus.

 Applications for the first cohort are open until December 1, after which 10 entrepreneurs will be accepted for a six-month investor readiness programme that will kick off in January 2020. Investments will be made within those six months, with ticket sizes in the range of US$135,000 range. There will be two cohorts per year.

The Duseks are working in conjunction with local partner Lelemba Phiri at the Africa Trust Group, which will run the investment readiness programme. She said she was excited about the strategic partnership.

The Ventures Capital will begin its first training in January 2020 by selecting and training 10 female entrepreneurs. The selected women will be enrolled in a six-month investor readiness programme where their ideas will be developed while they receive the required fund.

While expressing her view on the latest development, Sarah Dusek said, “I know how difficult it can be for women to think big because we have had so few role models to follow.

“I also understand the unique struggles and challenges of building a big business, having been a founder and CEO myself. We want to help women think big. We will create flexible financial solutions for them with efficient and strategic deployment of capital whilst also providing helpful tailored support.”

A statement by the fund reads, “In Africa, 47 percent of businesses are owned by women yet very few have access to appropriate capital sources.

Enygma Ventures will empower women to help level the playing field, by closing the gap for funding for women in Southern Africa.”

Enygma will not only concentrate on startups like its other counterpart but will focus on other sectors and uniquely non-tech businesses will also have opportunities to be funded.