We’re supporting 45,000 women across Sub-Saharan Africa with DHL Express

Through our renewed multi-year partnership with DHL Express, we'll expand our reach and deepen our impact.

We’re pleased to share that we’re supporting 19,500 more women entrepreneurs across Sub-Saharan Africa through a renewed partnership with DHL Express.

Between 2024 and 2026, the Foundation and DHL Express will support at least 19,500 more women across Kenya and South Africa to build businesses through app-based, online and face-to-face skills training and mentoring. This will bring the total number of women supported through the partnership since 2020 to 45,000. 

DHL Express’ dedicated, ongoing support has enabled us to achieve fantastic reach and success over time, and ultimately, have a strong, positive impact for women within the Kenyan and South African entrepreneurial ecosystems. Our work has been strengthened by partnering with local organisations, sharing knowledge and convening expertise. Our commitment to  women entrepreneurs across the African continent remains as strong as ever and I am delighted that with our partners, we can continue to meet their needs so that they can achieve their ambitions.

Dhivya O’Connor, CEO, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women

Sub-Saharan Africa has the world’s highest rate of women involved in entrepreneurial activity at 26%, yet many are held back from successfully starting, sustaining and growing their businesses by gender stereotypes and bias, disparities in education, disproportionate unpaid care work and more. Women-led startups across Africa are not only as profitable (if not more) than those led by men, but also more likely to drive women’s empowerment and make a positive social impact on the continent. The African Development Bank asserts that womenled startups are key drivers of economic development. Removing the barriers women entrepreneurs face and enabling them to achieve their potentialsuch as through DHL Express and the Foundation’s initiativecan vastly boost the continent’s economic growth and gender equality. 

Shereen Cassim Hassim, a female entrepreneur, rests her head on some books.
Shereen Hassim, Owner, Book Express, and Road to Growth alumna

We first partnered with DHL Express in mid-2020, bringing our award-winning HerVenture app to Kenya to support women entrepreneurs through the COVID-19 pandemic. The collaboration expanded to South Africa in 2021. Together with other partners including Smart Regional Consultants in Kenya, and the Gordon Institute of Business Science Entrepreneurship Development Academy, and the Small Enterprise Development Agency in South Africa, the project has so far supported over 25,000 women to start, sustain and grow businesses in the two countries. 

Thanks to funding from DHL Express, this new project will see continued delivery of our award-winning business skills microlearning app, HerVenture—which now boasts 100,000 users worldwide—in Kenya and South Africa. The partnership also holds the potential to expand delivery to an additional Sub-Saharan African country following further research and development. 

HerVenture is an eye-opener. It has taught me how to plan for the business, how to market the business, how to get sponsorship, how to budget, how to expand the business, and how to keep on pushing and just not give up. I have learned how to identify and hire skilled people for the company. I have seen an improvement in terms of increased sales and new customers. I am reinvesting the increased income back into the business by buying some much-needed equipment.

Mercy Manzini, founder of Mercy’s Company, and HerVenture User
Mercy Manzini, Founder, Mercy’s Company, and HerVenture user

With support from DHL Express, we will continue to deliver our business skills training programmes Road to Growth and Road to Leadership in Kenya and South Africa, as well as our online Mentoring Women in Business programme. We will also launch our Road to Finance training programme in South Africa.  

The project will also see the development of a brand new programme from the Foundation, Road to Markets, to be piloted in Kenya. This programme will support women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses by expanding their market reach. 

Since our collaboration with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women commenced in 2020 we’ve witnessed fantastic transformations for countless women across Kenya and South Africa. At DHL Express we are proud to continue supporting women to gain the skills, knowledge, confidence and networks that they need to run successful businesses, and to play a tangible role in women’s economic empowerment across the African continent through our partnership.

John Pearson, CEO, DHL Express

Partner with us to bring our programmes to more women

We run our programmes thanks to the extraordinary support of our private and public sector partners. We are always seeking new partners to bring our programmes and services to more women in new countries. Together, we can boost women's entrepreneurship and drive women's economic empowerment around the world.

Find out more
Shereen Cassim Hassim, a female entrepreneur, poses for a photograph from behind the front desk of her business. The desk is black and reflective. She is wearing a navy blue dress and hijab and smiling. In the background are office supplies on a display shelf.
Esther Gathage, Owner of Herstees Bespoke Cakes brushes simple syrup onto a vanilla cake.
Esther Gathage, Owner, Herstee's Bespoke Cakes, and former mentee