From strength to strength: what’s next in Kenya?

We’re reflecting on the impact of our programmes in Kenya so far and looking ahead for what’s to come in 2022.

Back in the summer of 2020, we brought our HerVenture business skills app to Kenya, marking the start of a fantastic partnership with DHL Express and Nairobi-based training organisation Sinapis. We moved swiftly to get the app speedily rolled out to Kenyan women entrepreneurs so we could support them and their businesses through the global pandemic.

Fast forward a year and a half, and we’ve not only supported over 5,000 Kenyan women entrepreneurs as HerVenture users, but also added new learning materials on business resilience to the app, and also piloted both our intensive online training programme Road to Growth and our new Leadership, Influencing and Advocacy training in the country for the first time. These two trainings supported an additional 205 women through Road to Growth and over 200 women through the Leadership, Influencing and Advocacy training pilot – more than four times our target!

The support our expanding collaboration provides and the growing impact it has shines through: 97% of the women using HerVenture in Kenya last year said that they’d implemented improved business practices from it. One Kenyan woman entrepreneur who found the app particularly useful was Karen Wambugu, Founder of Krescent Media. She told us, “these lessons will come in handy and within one year, my business will be in a better place.” Having started her online marketing consulting business two years ago without any capital, Karen found the lessons on finances and investment readiness really helpful: “the lessons on preparing for investment have shed light on so many things I had not thought about when it comes to financing.”

Woman entrepreneur smiles while using the HerVenture app.

2021 also saw us roll out our brand new Leadership, Influencing and Advocacy training, bringing it to Kenya in August. Through virtual workshops we reached more than 200 women entrepreneurs, equipping them with knowledge, confidence, skills and networks so they can influence positive change in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. This training saw massive demand and huge success: we outstripped our target number of participants by 400%, and afterwards a whopping 95% reported an increase in knowledge about their rights as women entrepreneurs and 99% said they felt more empowered to lead effectively.

Since first developing it in 2015, we’ve brought our flagship seven-week training course Road to Growth to several countries, and it’s so far supported over 2,600 women worldwide to grow and strengthen their businesses, generating a fantastic ripple effect of impact for families and communities. Thankfully DHL Express too recognised Road to Growth’s value and the potential it spelled for Kenya, meaning we were able to bring it to the country alongside HerVenture in Autumn 2021. 205 women took part in these first training deliveries across Mombasa and Nairobi, with 82% reporting improved business performance as a result.

Road to growth graduates in Kenya pose with their certificates.

75% of our first Road to Growth participants in Kenya also reported increased confidence in their ability to succeed in running their businesses—something we know to be crucial in overcoming barriers women entrepreneurs face. One woman told us: “It’s an eye opening program and I am blessed with it. Now I know all and can easily walk into a bank and negotiate for a loan. Thank you so much.”

And so, after seven weeks of intensive business management and investment readiness training, back in December 2021 we were delighted to celebrate the graduations of these first cohorts of Road to Growth participants in Kenya with our delivery partner Sinapis. These inspiring, ambitious women shared their stories, received their certificates, and even shared a giant cake in recognition of their fantastic achievement. We can’t wait to see what they go on to achieve.

Attendees at the Road to Growth graduation in Kenya share some celebratory cake.

“We are proud to partner with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women in implementing these programmes in Kenya,” Violet Omulo, Special Projects Manager at Sinapis tells us, “Having seen the women entrepreneurs appreciate the impact of learning and implementing these lessons, we believe that their businesses are now stronger. Last year, entrepreneurs focused on stabilizing their businesses after the effect of Covid-19 and now with the new learning track on resilience, they will strategically prepare themselves, it being an election year in Kenya. We are also excited to continue to support more entrepreneurs.”

Hennie Heymans, CEO at DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa, is similarly positive: “Research has shown that women make up over 50% of Africa’s self-employed population. Our partnership with Cherie Blair Foundation for Women is committed to empower women entrepreneurs with the critical training required so that they can scale up their businesses. We are quite pleased with the journey so far and we will remain committed to supporting women-owned businesses, as they are a vital component of economic growth, resulting in increased jobs which will yield a greater impact within the communities in which they operate.”

And so, we look ahead to an exciting new year for our work in Kenya, and to a growing partnership with DHL Express who are not only continuing to fund our delivery of HerVenture and more Road to Growth training in Kenya, but are also now supporting us to bring our third flagship programme, Mentoring Women in Business, to more women entrepreneurs in the country. Together, we’re aiming to reach thousands more women in Kenya in 2022 and support them to strengthen their businesses. Working with Sinapis, we’ll be targeting 3,500 more women as HerVenture users, 200 new Road to Growth participants this spring, and 80 more women through our Leadership, Influencing and Advocacy training. Plus, 15 of our recent Kenyan Road to Growth graduates will continue their entrepreneurial development with us as mentees, mentored by business professionals from DHL’s own dedicated workforce in year-long, online relationships.

Here’s to an exciting year!

Find out more about Road to Growth in Kenya

Our seven-week intensive Road to Growth programme ran in Kenya for the first time in Autumn 2021 with the support of our partners.

Discover more!