Winning as a female entrepreneur

On March 16 2021, “in connection with the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), Denmark’s Mission to the UN is organizing a side event on the link between energy transition and women empowerment, to highlight how investing in the energy transition can contribute to improving gender equality and also how investing in women participation in the energy sector can accelerate the energy transition”.

Entitled ‘Empower Women, Energize the World’, the event will feature speakers at the forefront of the nexus of energy and gender, who can provide perspectives on how to increase energy access, how to boost women’s professional participation in the energy sector, and how women entrepreneurs are contributing to the energy sector”, says the concept note Download here.

While my role in this panel is to give the perspective of a female entrepreneur, I will be drawing heavily from my experience in developing the ECOWAS Policy for Gender Mainstreaming in Energy Access

These speakers include:

  • Flemming Møller Mortensen, Danish Minister of Development Cooperation
  • Damilola Ogunbiyi, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and CEO of SEforALL
  • Irene Giner-Reichl, Chairperson of Global Women’s network for the Energy Transition (GWNET)
  • Karin Isaksson, Managing Director of Nordic Development Fund
  • Dorthe Petersen, Director of Plan International Denmark
  • Monica Maduekwe, Founder and CEO, PUTTRU Technologies Limited
  • Helen Watts, Senior Director of Global Partnerships, Student Energy
  • Rana Ghoneim, Industrial Development Officer, UNIDO

PUTTRU’s contribution to the dialogue

While my role in this panel is to give the perspective of a female entrepreneur, I will be drawing heavily from my experience in developing the ECOWAS Policy for Gender Mainstreaming in Energy Access and citing data from an ECOWAS study we published as a project under this regional policy.

Here are some of the points on which I will be laying the basis of my intervention:  

  1. Women entrepreneurs tend to have a more gender diversified workforce: employing more women than their male counterparts. This means that in order to increase female participation in the energy sector empowering female business owners to expand their operations could help.
  2. Women-owned energy businesses, however, tend to face unique challenges that hinder their ability to scale. These challenges include:
  • Not having the technical background to operate in the energy sector. 50% of respondents (female entrepreneurs interviewed in the aforementioned study) noted that low technical expertise, lack of a STEM background, low technology awareness were reasons behind the low participation of women entrepreneurs in the energy sector;
  • Women-led businesses tend to be self-financed or financed through small loans from lenders. This is mainly due to the fact that women are wary of collateral-based financing and generally not familiar with the non-traditional financing products made available by financiers;
  • Women-led energy businesses also face operational challenges, such as not being able to access and afford high quality labour.

Therefore, if we are to see a meaningful improvement on women’s participation in the energy sector and, thus, women entrepreneurs’ contribution to the energy sector, barriers to accessing top-notch technical expertise and business capital would have to be addressed. These, I believe, are the key factors required to win as a female entrepreneur in the energy sector.

To tie this up, I will be discussing how PUTTRU is strategically positioned to address this two-pronged issue – increasing access to technical expertise and financing.

To know how, REGISTER HERE.

See you on 16 March 2021.

8 MarchAfricaEnergy TransitionGender and EnergyInternational Women's DayInvestment

Monica Maduekwe

Monica is the founder of PUTTRU. She has several years of experience promoting sustainable energy markets in West Africa. She has an extensive knowledge of the energy landscape, which she has gained through her work as programme officer for resource mobilisation and project development, and, prior to that, a renewable energy programme officer both at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE). She has M.Sc. in Energy Studies with Specialisation in Energy and the Environment, from University of Dundee, and a Certificate in Negotiation Mastery from Harvard Business School.