By January 2020, we had directly supported over 160,000 women entrepreneurs across more than 100 low and middle income countries.
Then, we began advancing towards a new goal: to reach 100,000 more women in just three years and making significant strides towards creating a more enabling global ecosystem for women entrepreneurs. To reach this ambitious target, we set out to raise £10 million over three years and the 100,000 Women Campaign was born, launched in Davos, alongside the World Economic Forum, in January 2020.
Our Campaign calls upon companies, leaders and philanthropists everywhere to support us to tackle the global gender gap by empowering and equipping thousands of women with the skills, resources and networks they need to participate equally as entrepreneurs. We kicked off with a flying start, and with great promise and support.
Then the world changed.
Campaign year 1: a year like no other
In April 2020, due to the rapidly escalating COVID-19 situation, we surveyed the women in our programmes. Even then, 93% of respondents had already been negatively impacted by the pandemic, and 76% requested additional support from us. Overwhelmingly, we heard the need from women everywhere to protect their businesses, and in turn their livelihoods and their families’ futures. Fortunately, the tech-based, online nature of most of our services helped us remain relevant and adapt quickly, equipping women to emerge as well as possible from the crisis with crucial support from our partners and the individuals who saw the importance of our work in combatting the crisis.
In 2020, we supported over 24,000 women. This means despite an unprecedented global heath and economic crisis, we were able to reach 78% of our target for the number of women supported in 2020. With your support we’re confident we can end 2021 on track to hit our target.
Women’s economic equality is a smart, sustainable investment with long-term returns for us all. It changes the health and education outcomes for children, creates safer, more prosperous societies, with the unique perspectives women bring we see greater innovation and creativity, global GDP is boosted, and most importantly women can reclaim the rights and freedoms they are too often denied.
With our partners around the world, we help women break through the barriers to entrepreneurship. Through training and mentoring we offer skills, knowledge and guidance. We open doors to finance, markets and networks. We use technology to reach more women, in a way that suits them, to help women connect and increase their business skills, confidence and financial literacy. And together we press for change to stop women entrepreneurs being held back.
Here’s how we did this in 2020, and what we achieved…
HerVenture is a mobile learning app that provides essential business training and support ‘on the go’.
In 2020, over 20,000 women joined HerVenture, including from a brand-new roll-out country, Kenya. In response to the crisis we added new modules to aid women with business digitization. The app also became available on iOS for the first time.
Road to Growth
Road to Growth is an online and face-to-face training and development programme designed to build business skills and financial literacy.
In 2020, new programmes were launched in Nigeria, Vietnam and Indonesia, and we wrapped up Road to Growth Mexico.
Over two years we were able to support 680 Mexican women, like Lubet, to build their skills and grow their businesses. Watch her story here!
Mentoring Women in Business
Our Mentoring programme pairs women with professional mentors elsewhere in the world for an impactful, supportive mentoring relationship focused on professional development relationship.
In 2020, more than 1,500 women were mentored. Of mentees graduating in 2020, 95% became more innovative and able to challenge existing ways of thinking or acting, 95% increased personal confidence and 70% reported increased profits or sales. 99% of mentors also gained new skills which fed back into and enhanced their own work.
Our advocacy work, including research, policy and thought leadership, influences decision-makers locally, nationally and internationally to advance women’s entrepreneurship and ensure it is firmly on the agenda as we work to a global economic rebuild.
In 2020 we published two important pieces of sector research: our first annual audit of women entrepreneurs in low and middle income countries, their challenges and motivations in January, and a report on how COVID-19 had immediately impacted the women in our programmes, in April. We also surveyed women entrepreneurs in December for our second annual audit, which we just published!
Open-access online training
Our online training programmes and resources were launched in rapid response to the pandemic, to support women entrepreneurs across the globe to be resilient to its impacts. The training was intended to be available at short notice, from home and when convenient, so women could protect their businesses while juggling increased care burdens and other fallout from the rapidly-changing situation.
These training courses and resources were very well-received and allowed us to be a relevant and timely resource for women entrepreneurs. Together, they received over 6,500 views, users or engagements.
What’s in store for year 2?
Last year has thrown into sharper relief than ever the importance of our work in supporting women to keep their businesses afloat and, in turn, support themselves, their families and communities.
This year, we’re aiming to reach at least 35,000 women through Entrepreneurships programmes like HerVenture and Road to Growth across Vietnam, Indonesia, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Guyana, while our newly-redeveloped Mentoring programme will continue to be available to women entrepreneurs in over 100 countries.
To do this, we’re targeting raising £2.3 million through both combined individual gifting and partner funding.
Here’s where you come in
A gift to the Campaign is one of the best ways you can support our crucial mission. It comes in the form of flexible funding, meaning we can use the funds to direct it to where there is the greatest need, and create the most value.
Want to have even more impact? Our Founder, Cherie Blair CBE QC, is convening a Global Campaign Board of visionary volunteers to be the propelling force behind all of this phenomenal work. Join these fantastic movers and shakers as a regional Board member, pledging your own transformational gift before working to help us raise vital funds through shared networks to support our work.
All of our work is delivered in partnership with companies and institutions across the world, and we’re always seeking new partners who share our mission of advancing women’s entrepreneurship and want to make their contribution to sustainable development. That may be by becoming a corporate Mentoring partner, or helping us bring HerVenture, Road to Growth, a combination of our programmes, or even a brand-new programme altogether to a new low or middle income country. We would love to discuss the many possibilities with you.
Join our incredible network of supporters like Hillary Rodham Clinton, Olivia Colman, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Indra Nooyi, Sheryl Sandberg, June Sarpong, Ozwald Boateng, Sanda Ojiambo, Bank of America, Qualcomm, DHL, Salesforce and ExxonMobil Foundation on our 100,000 Women Campaign. Get in touch with us today!