For every woman and girl who has discovered the power of being an entrepreneur, so many more are held back. They are denied the knowledge, skills and self-belief an entrepreneur needs to succeed. Not only is gender equality a must-have, but if women had the same opportunities to be entrepreneurs as men, global GDP could rise by up to $5 trillion. In this context, the role of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women is even more important.
For me the power of networks to support women entrepreneurs has become more apparent over the last year. From evaluations of our programmes we learnt how transformative networks of fellow entrepreneurs, or ‘sisterpreneurs’, were to women’s skills, confidence and business opportunities.
I am proud that the Foundation directly supported over 2,200 women entrepreneurs this year bringing the total number of women we have helped since our inception to over 143,500 in over 105 low and middle-income countries.
Across the 2017-18 financial year, our work enabled 97% of programme participants to gain vital new skills and 96% to increase their confidence. We delivered initiatives across India, Lebanon, Mexico and Vietnam and planned future projects in Nigeria, Mexico and Indonesia. And we launched new mentoring partnerships to reach more women entrepreneurs across the globe. We also commenced work to re-energise our mission by developing a new Foundation strategy.
Our Trustees and staff continue to be inspired and driven by the determination of the women we work with and for. Their energy and resilience motivates us every day to make women’s economic empowerment a reality. We are collectively invigorated by the unfailing commitment of our donors, partners, volunteer mentors and supporters. Thank you so much for your generosity, counsel and persistence to join us on this life changing journey.
This year’s impact
Our work around the world
Across the 2017-18 financial year, we delivered entrepreneurship programmes in India, Lebanon, Mexico, and Vietnam and developed programmes for implementation in Indonesia, Mexico and Nigeria. Read short summaries in our Annual Review or broader descriptions in our larger Annual Report. Get updates on these by visiting our current project pages.
Using our online platform, our mentoring programme reached 750 new women entrepreneurs, equalling over 7,500 mentees and mentors reached to date in the seven years it’s been running. Across 2017-18:
- 97% of mentees reported increased business skills
- 96% increased confidence
- 91% gained new clients
- 82% accessed new markets
- 86% committed to mentoring others
- and 100% of our mentors reported personal and professional development benefits from participating in our mentoring programme.
Our future ambition
In the 2018-2019 financial year, we’ve launched an ambitious new organisational strategy to guide our work from 2019 until 2022. We will broaden the scale and reach of our programmes, sharpen and increase our advocacy and improve the sustainability of our organisation.
We will continue to put the women we work with at the heart of everything we do, adapting and innovating our programmes to ensure they have the opportunity to thrive and transform their futures. We are the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women: we help release the potential of women entrepreneurs, so they can redefine the future.