Dr. Victoria Kisyombe is the founder and CEO of SELFINA, a company in Tanzania that provides micro-leasing to mostly widows and young girls. Victoria is a leader who has used innovation, initiative, and determination to empower women in Tanzania to become economically self-sufficient. Given women’s lack of collateral and resulting lack of access to capital, Victoria began pioneering micro-leasing as a solution. Her pioneering micro-leasing model as an alternative way to financing women has generated praise beyond Tanzania, and efforts are under way to expand the model to other countries in the region.
SELFINA has gone on to economically empower more than 25,000 women with a total credit worth 25 billion Tanzanian Shillings (approximately $16 million US dollars). Over 200,000 lives have been impacted through the benefits accrued.
"If I can change the life of one person it makes a whole difference because behind that person there is a whole family. It’s a family, it’s a society, it’s Tanzania."
About the 100 Lionesses Project
100 Lionesses is an ongoing project to identify and celebrate 100 extraordinary African women whose example serves to motivate and inspire a belief in all of us that we can pursue our personal entrepreneurial dreams and make them a reality. These are the women entrepreneurs fundamentally changing the business landscape of Africa. Women who are building companies and brands that are leaders in their fields. Women who are breaking the mould and turning key industry sectors on their heads with fresh approaches to doing business. Women who are leading new innovations in technology fields. Women who are creating highly desirable products the world wants to own. And, women who are making the world a better place through their change-making social enterprises. Even more impressive is the fact that these women, at the top of their own games, have never lost sight of the need to send the elevator down to the next generation of women entrepreneurs who aspire to follow in their footsteps. Each of our '100 Lionesses' has demonstrated that in the world of women's entrepreneurship in Africa, everything is possible if you have a dream, are prepared to work hard to achieve it, and have a never-give-up attitude to life and business. We are honoured to tell the stories of these women and celebrate their achievements in the 100 Lionesses Project. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa