Ahead of International Women’s Day on 8th March 2021, we’d like to give our partners a strong overview of everything we have planned and invite you to co-ordinate with us.
Launched today, we are highlighting the stark impacts of COVID-19 on women entrepreneurs through our annual audit report, emphasising the need for the Foundation’s 100,000 Women Campaign, celebrating the women entrepreneurs we work with, and looking to the crucial new activity we have planned for 2021.
The Foundation’s timely new annual audit report, “Women Entrepreneurs: Surviving the Pandemic and Beyond” is based on consultation with 125 women entrepreneurs from 32 low- and middle -income countries. Some of the most sobering findings include:
- The COVID-19 pandemic has had a shocking impact on women entrepreneurs in low and middle income countries. 83.80% women entrepreneurs surveyed reported that the pandemic has had a negative impact on their businesses. Nearly four in ten women (38.5%) responded that their business may have to close as a result. Over a third of these women (34.4%) reported they would struggle to afford basic necessities, like food if their business closed down.
- Access to finance remains a pressing challenge for women entrepreneurs in low and middle income countries – in fact, 35.8% of women reported this was their greatest challenge. Only 15.8% of respondents reported that they had secured an investment or a loan from banks whilst just 6.3% had been able to access a business loan from a financial services company.
- Gender stereotypes continue to be prevalent and undermine women entrepreneurs’ ability to drive successful businesses. Over half (57%) of the women responding to our survey had been challenged by family members with the stereotype that ‘men do not like women who are too strong/business-minded/successful’, whilst 53.3% had experienced the stereotype from family members that women should prioritise domestic duties such as caring for their children.
Please share the report and these findings among your network if you can, working with us as we aim to highlight the need for our important work together this International Women’s Day.
We know that through partnerships and collaboration we can press things forward for women entrepreneurs. In 2020, thanks to your commitment to women’s economic empowerment, we supported over 24,000 women, working towards our goal of supporting 100,000 women before 2023. 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. This year we are excited to:
- Build our presence in Kenya following on from the successful pilot of our app HerVenture in Kenya last year
- Celebrate the brand-new online platform for our flagship Mentoring programme
- Launch our HerVenture app in South Africa for the first time
- Roll out the fantastic new advocacy component of our Road to Growth programme in Nigeria
- Expand our presence in South America, launching our programmes in Guyana for the first time
- Continue to support women entrepreneurs all over the world after the hardest year many new businesses have faced
- Grow our supporter base even further, continuing to reach towards our goal of raising £10,000,000 over three years
Keep updated on the 100,000 Women Campaign and all that our work has achieved together through our brand-new brochure.
Every woman entrepreneur we work with has an incredible story to tell of ambition, creativity, determination, resilience and impact. Lubet is one of these women. She participated in our Road to Growth programme in Mexico and now, for International Women’s Day, we’re pleased to lanch our brand-new, inspiring new animation which perfectly highlights what can be achieved when we collaborate to remove the barriers women face to entrepreneurship.
This International Woman’s Day we are also celebrating the start of enrolment for the May 2021 intake of our Mentoring Women in Business programme! If you are one of our Mentoring partners, we look forward to receiving your mentors’ applications in the coming months.
In addition to launching our newly-redeveloped Mentoring platform, we’re delighted to announce that we’ve just redeveloped our mentor and mentee training videos. This efficient new platform and be beautiful new resources will ensure your mentors remain as engaged, excited and well-equipped to participate as possible.
Finally, we are delighted to announce a webinar we are hosting in collaboration with Cambridge Wireless: No Labels! Tackling gender stereotypes that hold back women tech entrepreneurs in low and middle income countries. Please join us on 17th March from 12:00-13:00 GMT to examine the prevalence of gender stereotypes experienced by women entrepreneurs operating in the tech sector – particularly those in low and middle income countries – and to explore innovative solutions to dismantle them.
Thank you again for your commitment to women’s economic empowerment, and to advancing women’s entrepreneurship across the globe. Please get in touch with your key contacts at the Foundation if you’d like to discuss any of the above.