Women's Angel Investment Network (WAIN)

Women's Angel Investment Network (WAIN)

Dubai, United Arab EmiratesUnited Arab Emirates
Year Founded:
2013
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

WAIN is the first women’s angel investor group in the Middle East. The group makes a difference with financial and mentoring support for women entrepreneurs based in the Middle East. Through a collaborative investment process, WAIN supports entrepreneurs to be agents of change - for women by women.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if there were 50 women angel investor groups supporting 50 women company founders in the Middle East?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

There are a rising number of women entrepreneurs in the Middle East (estimated to be 30-40% of all start-ups) that are not receiving support in terms of mentoring and capital needed to be successful. Women in particular tend to have lower access to these networks, especially since the networks tend to be tech focused. In parallel, women may possess the capital but lack the experience, training and tools to make angel investments.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

WAIN forms women angel groups (10 members) and provides training that consists of learning modules on topics such as valuation, due diligence, governance, deal flow, exit strategy and investee relationships. Experts are brought in to lead these sessions as learning is another important element for the women who will invest time and money into women-led companies. WAIN invites women entrepreneurs to apply for funding that is provided collectively by the angels (all women must invest together). The companies are short-listed and invited to present. At the end of the 6 month period, one equity investment ($25,000-50,000) is made by the WAIN angel group and the group nominates one woman to represent them on the Board.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Names have been changed and because we have not yet made an investment, the story is hypothetical. Fatina is a woman fashion designer who has dreamed of starting her own business but she doesn't know where to start. She has an idea and hears about a group of women angel investors in the UAE. She applies and is short-listed to present. She is assigned a mentor from WAIN named Huda. Huda is a marketing professional and helps Fatina to prepare her business plan and presentation before she presents to WAIN. She presents and is short-listed for due diligence by WAIN. During this process, she learns a lot about planning, finance and strategy - and she meets amazing women who offer to mentor her, including a woman with her own luxury brand!

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

WAIN UAE started in May 2013 with a group of 12 angel investors. They have learning modules every month and are currently in the process of soliciting applications online from women entrepreneurs. They have received 40 applications to date (deadline is Nov 15). They will then short-list 5 companies and invite them to pitch on Dec 7. They will perform due diligence on 3 companies and ultimately select one for investment ($50,000) by February (with 1 Board seat). In the meantime, they are participating in learning modules on mentoring, valuation, due diligence and governance. This is the first pilot group and based on the experience so far, there is huge potential for a group like this that has access to the investor network and entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Middle East to make impact, both by supporting entrepreneurs but also by training investors.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We are exploring ways to make the training and support needed to investors and entrepreneurs sustainable. This may be done by charging a membership fee to the angel investors where they receive the intellectual property and training at cost. There are other ideas such as grants from private foundations.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are accelerators such as Oasis500, Gaza Sky Geeks, MC Egypt, Flat6Labs, Seed Start-Up and other organizations such as MIT Business Planning Competition, Cherie Blair Foundation, C3 and 85Broads who are helping to source women entrepreneurs. Cairo Angels and Lebanon Business Angels target tech entrepreneurs. However, to date there are not any other women angel groups. There is a lot of interest in partnerships with Google accelerators, who want to target 25% women entrepreneurs, that we will pursue.
Team

Founding Story

WAIN was conceived by Heather Henyon when she started working with angel investors for her own microfinance company. It was then that she understood the value brought by good angel investors in terms of the mentoring, support and capital that they can provide. As an American living in the Middle East for the last 8 years, she surveyed the entrepreneurial and investment landscape across the region and realized that there was a deficit of this type of support, especially for women. In addition, many women might have the capital to invest but not the financial literacy or skills to provide the “smart” capital needed by entrepreneurs. She started WAIN to help support both women entrepreneurs and women investors in the UAE.
About You
Organization:
Women Angel Investment Network (WAIN)
About You
First Name

Heather

Last Name

Henyon

About Your Organization
Organization Name

Women Angel Investment Network (WAIN)

Organization Country
Country where this project is creating social impact

, Dubai

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Project
Year founded

2013

Impact
Impact: What is the impact of the work to date?

Because WAIN was started in May 2013, the impact has been limited to forming the first group of 12 angel investors in the UAE. We are now soliciting applications and have received 40 to date from women founders across the Middle East. About 20 different organizations have helped us to get the word out about the applications in order to increase pipeline.

Barriers: What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

The balance between organic and institutional is a precarious one. For example, we rely on our networks to attract the right angel investors but if our funding sources to cover training costs are government sponsored, we might not be able to reach the right women angel investors. We need to leverage our relationships and reputation in order to add value and quality to the women entrepreneurs in the Middle East.

Full Impact Potential: What are the main spread strategies moving forward? (Please consider geographic spread, policy reform, and independent replication/adoption of the idea or other mechanisms.)

Our vision is to expand across the region into many of the countries, starting with Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Morocco and Tunisia. We would like to create WAIN Egypt, WAIN Jordan, etc and continue to grow the women angel investors who are supporting women entrepreneurs and ultimately building a women's business network across geography and socioeconomic class.

Sustainability
Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We are exploring ways to make the training and support needed to investors and entrepreneurs sustainable. This may be done by charging a membership fee to the angel investors where they receive the intellectual property and training at cost. There are other ideas such as grants from private foundations. -

Founding Story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

WAIN was conceived by Heather Henyon when she started working with angel investors for her own microfinance company. It was then that she understood the value brought by good angel investors in terms of the mentoring, support and capital that they can provide. As an American living in the Middle East for the last 8 years, she surveyed the entrepreneurial and investment landscape across the region and realized that there was a deficit of this type of support, especially for women. In addition, many women might have the capital to invest but not the financial literacy or skills to provide the “smart” capital needed by entrepreneurs. She started WAIN to help support both women entrepreneurs and women investors in the UAE.

Partnerships: Tell us about your partnerships.

We have been approached by several organizations in the Middle East to partner on increasing the reach of women entrepreneurs. For example, we would partner with the accelerators in the region as well as other angel investors. We would also consider partnering with organizations to help provide support with mentoring and some of the learning (law firms, finance experts, etc).

Women Powering Work
Is your project targeted at solving any of the following challenges?

Access to financial resources such as credit, loans, collateral, and more

Does your project utilize any of the strategies below?

Group learning experiences such as hands-on learning projects, cooperatives, collectives, support groups, and more

Comments

We need more women angel investors in the Middle East to start investing in women entrepreneurs!

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