October 15, 2019: The founders of US adventure-hospitality firm Under Canvas, Sarah Dusek and Jacob Dusek have launched Enygma Ventures, an R100 million venture capital (VC) fund which will invest up to R2 million in women-led startups from the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The husband and wife duo will run the US-based fund locally with operating partners Lelemba Phiri and Sandras Phiri (husband and wife) of the Africa Trust Group.

Lelemba, who is the Africa Trust Group principal, told Ventureburn that the sector-agnostic fund will hold a three- to six-month investor readiness programme which will kick off by the end of January 2020.

Applications are open to women-founded or led ventures which will close on December 1. To be considered for the programme, applicants must have scalable SADC-based businesses with a proven revenue model and business concept.

Lelemba pointed out that Enygma Ventures is the first VC fund that is focused on investing in women entrepreneurs in the SADC region. "We're taking 10 women entrepreneurs in this first cohort and depending on how ready they are at entrance we will look to invest within that six months," she said.

Sarah noted, "We want to help women think big. We will create flexible financial solutions for them with efficient and strategic deployment of capital whilst also providing helpful tailored support."

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