Commitment to action at Clinton Global Initiative

Together with partners across the globe, we will support one million women entrepreneurs by 2030

At 2023’s Clinton Global Initiative in New York, our founder Cherie Blair CBE KC announces our bold commitment to action: to support one million women entrepreneurs by 2030, and to work with global partners to achieve it.

Back in 2009 at the fifth Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), when the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women had just launched, Cherie Blair spoke of her passionate belief that the greater the role women play in our economy and society, the better our chance of overcoming the challenges we face.

On that day she made a commitment that we would increase women’s participation in the labour force in Nablus, Palestine by supporting women entrepreneurs. We went on to successfully support 24 craftswomen to develop sustainable businesses by providing skills building and access to networks. This was one of the first of many successes for the Foundation.

Adaeze Onu, a Nigerian woman with braids, glasses and a colourful headband, sits with her staff around a meeting table in her office. There are mannequins in garments standing behind her and she is holding a marker pen and speaking.
Adaeze Onu, Founder and Creative Director at Dexy Creation, gives a class on fashion design at the Dexy Creation fashion studio, Nigeria

Since those humble but dedicated beginnings, thanks to committed public and private sector partners we have now supported over 230,000 women entrepreneurs across more than 100 low and middle income countries.

These incredible women are not only empowering themselves. They are providing better lives for their children and supporting their families. They are creating jobs and providing vital services. They are solving social issues and powering innovation. They are leading their communities and boosting their economies. They are inspiring and influencing others. They are changing the world.

However, our work is far from done. Despite remarkable strides over recent decades, we are far from achieving gender equality and economic empowerment for all by 2030, as committed to in the Sustainable Development Goals. Women continue to face restrictive gender roles and stereotypes, unequal pay and unpaid care work, limited access to credit and resources, discriminatory laws, and underrepresentation in decision-making roles.

Radhika Basdeo, a Guyanese woman of south Asian heritage, sits at a desk in her office. Her hair is up in a bun and she is wearing a floral blouse. She is date-stamping a batch of labels by hand.
Radhika Basdeo, spices and condiments entrepreneur, stamps the fabrication date on package labels, in Basdeo's Dynasty's facility, Guyana

14 years on from the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women’s first CGI commitment, fuelled by our successes and with renewed resolve at this half-way point to achieving the SDGs, we are pleased to once again join CGI to make a new commitment.

By 2030, we will enable one million women in low and middle income countries to start, grow and sustain successful businesses. Our strategy, ‘Ready for Business’, centres crucial partnerships that will enable us to radically scale our reach and impact and achieve our commitment over two phases.

During phase one, from 2023 to 2026, together with partners we will directly support 400,000 women.

  • We will scale up our in-person and digital training programmes in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Guyana and Vietnam and Indonesia and expand into new countries.
  • We will increase the reach and impact of our online Mentoring programme, which is delivered all over the world.
  • We will create new programmes and curricula that respond to women’s emerging needs.
  • We will undertake major research and advocacy initiatives to press for systemic change.

During phase two, from 2027, we will strategically build on phase one to directly support another 600,000 women, in total reaching one million women by 2030.

Crucially, all of this will be enabled by partnerships that include governments, private sector and civil society, academia and most importantly, with women themselves.

Latoya Rigby, a Black Guyanese woman with short red hair and colourful, patterned clothing, sits in her office. She is looking at her phone, using the HerVenture business skills app.
Latoya Rigby, hairdresser and makeup artist, uses the Foundation's HerVenture app whilst on a break in her Inspired beauty salon, Guyana

Joining our commitment in the first instance are our fantastic partners PayPal, DHL Express, University of Nairobi, University College London, Marsh McLennan and University of Wisconsin – Madison.

These partners will be integral in enabling us to reach that initial 400,000 women target, but they won’t get us all the way there. We can’t do this without you.

We are seeking more expert partners and donors to provide funding, time and expertise to support our commitment and drive this huge impact for women entrepreneurs.

The clock is ticking, and the time to act is now. I want to thank the partners who are already supporting our Commitment and I call on global stakeholders in the public, private and third sectors to also join us.

Cherie Blair CBE KC, founder, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women

As we continue our collective work towards 2030, let us remember that achieving Sustainable Development Goals 5 and 8 hinges on global, cross-sector collaboration.

What’s more, achieving gender equality and economic growth will have a catalytic effect on other SDGs.

When women are empowered, children have better health and education outcomes. Communities thrive. Poverty is driven down. Innovation thrives. Societies become more equitable and just. Violence against women and girls is reduced.

By working together and leveraging each other’s strengths, we can support one million women by 2030, we can achieve the SDGs, and we can make this vision a reality.