In their words: COVID-19 & Women Entrepreneurs

Hear from some of the women in our programmes in May 2020 about how COVID-19 impacted them and their businesses.


May 2020



Due to the global pandemic, women business owners around the world had to adjust to the new reality: shuttering their doors due to stay-at-home orders and pivoting their offerings to respond to COVID-19.

At the Foundation, we remained completely committed to supporting these women during this incredibly difficult time and beyond. Their voices and experiences are so important to us, and we think it’s so important for others to hear them too. Below, you can hear from some of the women in our Mentoring and Entrepreneurship programmes on how the Coronavirus has impacted them and their businesses, and why our programmes, support, advocacy, and the networks we facilitate were more vital than ever.

Florence highlighted that they are actively trying to raise funds to cushion their businesses, which is made harder by a gendered lack of support and no networks to fall back on, pointing to there being so such thing as an “old boys’ club” for women:

Naomi articulated that, without gender-specific support from the top down, women entrepreneurs’ vision and expertise – and their businesses – will be held back even more:

Hanan discussed the  “double burden” many women faced with the onset of the pandemic, having to both provide childcare and perform housework:

Peace reminded us that the pandemic compounded preexisting barriers for women entrepreneurs, such as the discrimination they face from banks and financial service providers. As she stresses, in these uncertain times, empowering women remained the smartest investment that can be made – they don’t just run businesses, they inspire others in their communities as well:

When a woman entrepreneur faces major challenges, very often many others are put at risk too. Ololade, who runs Ileoge Women’s Initiative in Lagos, embodies this perfectly as she strives to support other women who are finding not only their finances but their mental health impacted:

Women’s incredible capacity to handle pressure, adapt and innovate is also articulated by Soraya, who is another business owner who rapidly pivoted her company to meet growing needs for bread and other baked goods:

How can you support us?

With major implications for economies, businesses and entrepreneurs around the globe, the need for our work during this time increases. If you are able to help by making a donation today you’ll be enabling us to continue and expand the services women entrepreneurs need more than ever to support their families, communities and societies for years to come.


Donate now

Our donors have supported over 230,000 women in low and middle income countries to start, sustain and grow businesses through our work. Your vital donation will help us reach many more.

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