Our Senior Entrepreneurship Programme Manager Vera Borsboom describes the impact of our HerVenture app in Kenya so far and highlights our upcoming Road to Growth programme.
We first launched HerVenture in Kenya last year, alongside our partners DHL Express and Sinapis. In 2020, more than 1,100 women entrepreneurs used the app, learning new business skills to kickstart their entrepreneurship journeys. This year, we set out to reach an additional 2,800 women in Kenya. We’ve seen great demand for the app so far, and are delighted to have exceeded our target with more than 3,500 women entrepreneurs signing up to learn new business skills this year.
Our HerVenture programme in Kenya is being delivered in partnership with Sinapis, supported by DHL Express. We are spreading the word about the app with the support of our HerVenture ambassadors (left).
The app has also shown enormous impact on its users so far. In 2020, 95% of HerVenture users in Kenya reported that applying the learnings from the app to their business is a high priority for them. Thanks to using the app, 75% improved their financial planning and budgeting skills whilst 25% reported an increase in profits – despite the tremendous challenges posed by the global pandemic last year. The app also supported women entrepreneurs in building their confidence: 81% percent reported feeling more confident in their business skills.
But don’t just take our word for it! We wanted to share the stories of two HerVenture users in Kenya, Elizabeth Kibunja and Everline Achieng, who told us how the app impacted them and their businesses.
Elizabeth runs Ventures & Concepts, an online kitchenware business. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit last year and seeing her revenues decrease, she was forced to close her physical shop and moved her business completely online. She found the HerVenture app invaluable in supporting her with this transition, and found the learning track on managing business records particularly useful. She learned how to manage her business and personal expenses separately and to closely record her business income and expenditure on a daily basis. Now that Elizabeth is running her business online, she has learned to include costs such as delivery costs, packaging costs and transportation as part of her expenses. She said: “It has been a huge enlightenment for me because I have finally realised the importance of recording your purchases, your sales, your expenses, and most importantly banking myself every day.”
Elizabeth hopes to expand her customer base all over Kenya. She has also been able to connect with fellow women entrepreneurs through HerVenture, and they are encouraging each other to learn and grow their businesses. She even set up another business thanks to the connections made through networking! Elizabeth explained: “Just by interacting with other women [I have learned] that you can actually multitask and do different things, because you are a business person. […] If you’re interested in venturing in business, it’s time!”
Everline is a fishmonger in Kayole, Nairobi where she sells omena (silver cyprinid fish). She started her business in 2011, but it began to stagnate during the pandemic. Fortunately, she learnt about HerVenture, which changed her perceptions of business. Everline learned about integrating customer and market feedback, which helped her learn to value her customers and in turn increased sales. She now has the confidence and capital to buys the omena in larger quantities, which is cheaper, allowing her to make even more profit. Everline said: “I started with [buying] only two gorogoros (tins used to measure food in Kenya) but now I’m going somewhere because of HerVenture.”
Everline is aspiring to learn more on the HerVenture app and apply the lessons learned. She is hoping to become a producer of omena to other vendors in Kayole. Everline told us: “I want to motivate the women so that they don’t just sit down, they should do business.”
Alongside the HerVenture app, we are also excited to bring our seven-week financial literacy and business skills training programme Road to Growth to Kenya with our partner Sinapis between September and December. The online course, which is a “next step” in the entrepreneurial journey from HerVenture, will provide 200 women entrepreneurs with the opportunity to work more intensively to build business skills, financial literacy, networks and confidence. Applications are still open, so for more information and to apply please visit our website!
COVID-19 has certainly had enormous impact on women entrepreneurs in Kenya, but we are confident our HerVenture app and Road to Growth programmes can give women the tools they need to transform their businesses and become more empowered, like Elizabeth and Everline. We are excited to see our programmes reach even more entrepreneurs in Kenya, thanks to our partners Sinapis and DHL Express, and look forward to seeing what we can achieve together across the remaining months of 2021.
HerVenture is highly scalable and adaptable. The Foundation is actively seeking funding partnerships to enable the app to launch in, but not limited, to Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda, Ghana, Tanzania and Mozambique, with each iteration carefully adapted for a local context. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss potential partnerships!