VC4A receives Prestigious International Finance Corporation (IFC) ScaleX Award for Supporting Women-led Startups to Raise Capital


AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, October 19, 2023 -- VC4A (, the leading platform that strengthens the startup community in emerging markets, has been honored with a prestigious IFC ScaleX award for its contribution to the support of women-led startups in securing capital after completing an accelerator program. Of 170 accelerators, VC4A was selected among the top 5 by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group.

Women entrepreneurs face a significant gender finance gap in emerging markets. Only 11% of seed funding goes to companies with a woman on their founding team, and later stage funding figures are even lower. This gender financing gap results in missed opportunities for both startups and investors. To help close this gap, IFC and the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) launched IFC ScaleX - a global program that aims to increase access to early-stage risk capital for women-led startups in emerging markets.

Recognizing the need to address gender bias, VC4A, an entrepreneur support organization, launched a dedicated showcase for women-led startups in Africa in 2022: VC4A Venture Showcase Africa - Women Founder Edition in 2022. The initiative aims to highlight high-value venture capital opportunities and support these startups for success. The organization began showcasing emerging market startups in 2017, with a focus on African and Latin American talent. The showcase provided mentorship, technical advice, and networking opportunities with investors to 16 women founders of innovative, high-growth companies.

Loretta Foran, Head of IFC's ScaleX Program explains, "We are delighted VC4A has been selected to receive an IFC ScaleX award given the organization’s successful work to help women-led startups access equity financing.."

She continues: "One of the objectives of IFC ScaleX is to identify and share such best practices for other accelerators and entrepreneur-support organizations globally to learn and get inspired from. For this purpose, we will be publishing short case studies on each of our awardees, showcasing their work, as well as key drivers for success."

Ben White, founder at VC4A says: "Back in 2017, VC4A began an annual showcase of emerging market startups, with a focus on top talent in Africa, and more recently, Latin America. Women-led startups accounted for about 20 percent of showcase graduates and have already raised close to $40 million in venture capital. We accelerated these efforts with the Women Founder Edition Africa 2022 and are now in the process of launching Women Founder Edition LATAM 2023! The VC4A team works so hard and ScaleX is a great recognition for the hard work and efforts made by them."

The Women Founder Edition helps women-led startups gain access to investors specifically seeking such startups in the region. To ensure a pipeline of quality applicants, VC4A involved women graduates from previous showcases as ambassadors and incorporated women investors in the program delivery. The investor community plays a key role throughout the process, from referring companies to providing mentorship and technical support. The deep links between VC4A and the venture capital ecosystem have been critical for the growth of companies like Sayna, an edtech and talent sourcing startup founded by Matina Razafimahefa. Sayna secured $600,000 in equity investments. Another example is Dr. Rasha Rady, the founder of Chefaa, a healthtech startup from Egypt. Chefaa secured $2.5 million in funding since joining the VC4A Venture Showcase.

In total, women-led graduates from VC4A's Venture Showcase have raised nearly $40 million in capital. The next showcase, focused on Latin America, is scheduled for 2023.