Great achievements in a transitional year: Our 2021 Annual Report

We’re delighted to release our 2021 annual report, detailing our activities over a transitional year.

In 2021, as the world continued to transition through and overcome the effects of the pandemic, the Foundation played a key role in supporting women entrepreneurs in low and middle income countries to ensure their businesses survived and thrived.   

Throughout the year, our programmes directly supported just under 23,000 women entrepreneurs in 52 countries, working with our global network of 57 partners. Millions of people worldwide have now been positively impacted by our work as these women, their staff, families and communities have benefited from their success.  

22,905 women entrepreneurs supported

With all the skills I learnt from my mentor and the team I believe I can and I did achieve my goals. Women helping women can move mountains! – a 2021 mentee

3 awards won

“The COVID-19 pandemic has not been good for women’s economic empowerment. However, this annual report shows the challenges we’ve faced have only strengthened our resolve with our partners, donors, staff, and volunteers to address our mission,” says Helen McEachern, our Chief Executive Officer, “It remains, as vital as ever: to close the gender gap in entrepreneurship, ensuring women have access to the services they need for business success and pressing for the environment around them to be fairer and more enabling.

In the short video below, Helen runs through our key highlights of 2021.

We are proud to have made great progress for women entrepreneurs throughout the past year, deepening our impact and expanding our reach.  

So, what exactly did we get up to in 2021 and how did we meet the needs of the women we exist to serve? Here are our headlines… 

2021: A transitional year infographic
  • Supported 22,905 women entrepreneurs in 52 countries through our programmes, working with a global network of 57 partners. 
  • Launched a new Theory of Change and corresponding Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Framework with clear indicators to provide consistent evidence of impact and accountability across all our work.  
  • Launched our HerVenture app in two new countriesSouth Africa and Guyana—and continued delivery in Nigeria, Kenya, Vietnam and Indonesia, reaching 20,236 new users. 
  • Won three awards for HerVenture in recognition of its enormous value. 
  • Brought our Road to Growth programme to four new countries—Vietnam, Indonesia, Kenya and Guyana—and continued delivery in Nigeria, supporting 935 participants. 
  • Developed new leadership, influencing and advocacy training and piloted it in four countries—Nigeria, Kenya, Vietnam and Indonesia. 
  • Gained gold accreditation for our world-class Mentoring Women in Business programme, which over the year supported 444 women as mentees. 
  • Created new opportunities for our programme alumni community to become mentors, launching a Scholarship Fund in order to fund these. 
  • Supported a further 1,136 women entrepreneurs through training webinars. 
  • Delivered a four-day online global summit attended by 778 people, 148 of whom were women entrepreneurs engaging with specific content developed for them. 
  • Grew our research and advocacy work, publishing two pieces of primary research and engaging in more than 40 influencing opportunities worldwide. 
  • Completed an extensive redevelopment of our website, delivering a more fit-for-purpose and impactful online platform to communicate and promote our work. 
  • Reached a huge milestone: 200,000 women entrepreneurs supported since our inception. 

2021 Annual Report

Download now (2.3MB pdf)


Our capacity to deliver against our vision of women’s economic equality has been maintained and strengthened. And with numerous innovations and improvements in efficiency we continue to grow our reach and impact.

– Dr. Mathias Terheggen, Chair of the Board of Trustees 

We would like to thank all our partners, sponsors, donors and stakeholders, our staff and trustees, and our founder, who all supported the Foundation throughout 2021. But above all, we would like to thank the many thousands of women entrepreneurs who participate in our work.  

We look forward to building on this progress in 2022 and beyond. There is still much to be done and across the world many women entrepreneurs are still facing the impacts of the global pandemic. We won’t wait for women to have economic equality – you or your company can help us make that a reality.