We are delighted to announce that HerVenture, our business skills app for women entrepreneurs, has won the Digital Innovation of the Year Award at the UK’s Third Sector Awards! The judges praised HerVenture as “solving a clear problem with a clever solution – it is a great concept, delivered to those that need it most.”
Our free-of-charge app has brought vital business skills and support to over 41,000 women across Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Vietnam and Indonesia, particularly throughout the pandemic, and has just this month also launched in Guyana.
COVID-19 has drastically changed the way women entrepreneurs everywhere live and work, making them more reliant on the digital world. We are delighted to receive this important recognition for the innovative and incredibly valuable support that HerVenture has offered women entrepreneurs since the pandemic’s onslaught.
We undertook urgent research at the start of the pandemic that highlighted two critical learning needs to help women’s businesses survive: e-commerce and digital marketing. Due to national and regional lockdowns and women’s increased domestic burdens we recognised that these needs had to be met digitally and quickly. And so we rapidly developed new and easily-digestible learning tracks on these topics through HerVenture, as well as making the app—previously only available on Android—available over iOS to increase its availability.
HerVenture’s rapid, relevant and easy-to-access support has assisted many thousands of women in navigating the ‘new normal’ and protecting themselves, their businesses, their families and their communities from potentially disastrous impacts resulting from the pandemic. In Kenya, for example, 2020’s target user numbers were quickly exceeded and within just a few months 44% of users had grown their savings and 68% of users felt optimistic that the financial situation of their families would improve as a result. Furthermore, supporting many thousands of women-owned business to survive and thrive provides societies with an important opportunity to generate sustainable livelihoods, reduce poverty and grow the economy at a time when that has never been more vital.
We created HerVenture specifically for women who own micro, small and medium sized enterprises in low and middle income countries. The app has been developed and deployed across the world thanks to our partners’ generous support. We extend our enormous gratitude to them: USAID, Qualcomm through its Qualcomm® Wireless Reach™ Initiative, DHL Express and the ExxonMobil Foundation.
HerVenture is delivered to women entrepreneurs via a network of dedicated local partners. We thank them too for their invaluable work: the Enterprise Development Centre in Nigeria, Sinapis in Kenya, AWIEF in South Africa, Kinara in Indonesia, WISE in Vietnam and our new partners ActionINVEST Caribbean Inc. in Guyana.
Just last week Guyana became the latest country in which HerVenture is available. We look forward to seeing our app’s incredible impact continue to grow and to supporting even more women in Guyana and beyond.
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!