As we commemorate the International Women’s Day 2024 theme “Invest in Women, Accelerate Progress”, we shine a spotlight on the remarkable women driving innovation and change in the green sectors in Africa under our Greenovations incubation program. From tech startups for improved clean energy access to solutions to sustainable innovations in waste management, these women are breaking barriers and making local impact in their communities. They are not just entrepreneurs—they are visionaries, leaders, and trailblazers shaping the future of their green sectors. Through their dedication, resilience, and creativity, they inspire us all.

In reflection of best effective promotion strategies for diversity and inclusion within their respective green sectors:

Dosy is a startup aiming to encourage women and girls to ride scooters and bicycles. CEO and co-founder Noura Farouk says, “Creating mentorship programs where senior team members, especially women, can guide and support junior colleagues from diverse backgrounds fosters a sense of belonging and career development along with knowledge transfer and career guidance tailored to the unique challenges women face.”

Others focus on overcoming communication barriers and breaking stereotypes within their own startups to build a resilient and cohesive working environment. The Co-founder and MD of Off&Tie Grid Solar Company, Langanani Dube, says, “Our company has made it its goal to ensure every employee is trained about unconscious bias and inclusive communication to avoid stereotyping certain genders or groups. This has helped create a fairer and more equitable workplace for all.”

Voices of Inspiration

Courage stands at the forefront of start-up creation, owning, leading, and growing the business, especially in the often-male dominated green sectors, yet nothing stands in the way of these determined young African women.

Onyine, founder of a waste management startup, also highlighted the following points:

  • Be intentional about your employment process—hiring criteria should be void of bias and prejudice.
  • Actively initiate opportunities that foster diversity and inclusion, holding everyone accountable from top to bottom, while creating a welcoming environment.
  • Connect with women in the green sector through online communities, conferences, or local green businesses.

Tontho, founder of agriculture startup SFS, flagged the need to forge strong connections “with a supportive network of mentors, peers, and allies who uplift and inspire you along your journey. As women entrepreneurs in the green sector, we may face obstacles and setbacks, but let’s approach every challenge with resilience and perseverance. Our collective resilience paves the way for meaningful change and lasting impact.”

Naledi Magowe from Brastorne, a smart agriculture startup, also highlighted that women interested in the green sector can tailor their business target audience to be more inclusive of women, and to also leverage their unique perspective and passion for impact.

“Surround yourself with a supportive network, seek mentorship from industry leaders, and nurture your relationships. Stay resilient and believe in the positive impact you can make.”

Mary from YNA Kenya, a climate action startup, says that “beyond self-belief, one needs to start by researching and understanding the market you want to enter, and identify any gaps or opportunities. Network with other women in the industry and seek mentorship from those who have experience. Don’t be afraid to take risks and be resilient in the face of challenges.”

A Call to Action

As we honour these women on International Women’s Day, these green women entrepreneurs are a testament to the need to continue to support and champion female entrepreneurs worldwide.

Their stories remind us of the power of diversity, inclusion, and collaboration in driving innovation and creating a bright GREEN future.