Unlocking the potential of India’s women

Cherie Blair recently visited women entrepreneurs we support in India and has shared her reflections.

Cherie Blair recently visited some of the inspiring women entrepreneurs we support in India and has shared her reflections in an article for the Huffington Post. You can read the full article online, but here are a few highlights:

“Last month I travelled to India to meet some of the incredible women entrepreneurs supported by my charity. Among them was Delhi-based Priyanka… in 2011, she launched WOW Money Gym, a social enterprise offering financial management classes and resources to women.”

“Priyanka is one of the women supported by my Foundation, which I established in 2008 to empower women in developing and emerging economies to establish and grow successful businesses. Priyanka’s energy and resilience was inspiring. And, according to a new report by the World Bank, it’s exactly this kind of entrepreneurial spirit which has the potential to transform India’s economic outlook.”

“According to the World Bank, bringing large numbers of women into the workforce with ‘safe, flexible and well-paying jobs’ could boost growth and generate huge gains across society, as women plough their earnings back in the health and wellbeing of their families and communities.”


“What’s more exciting is that there is a clear opportunity to accelerate this solution. Enabling more women to set up and grow successful enterprises could ‘fast-track’ growth, since – according to the report – female entrepreneurs in India tend to hire more women.”

“Many of the women my Foundation works with create a powerful chain of empowerment… Eighty per cent of mentees from our own Mentoring Programme, for example, pass on what they learn with others, with 50% going on to mentor others.”

“From the middle-class, educated women I met in Delhi to the rural women I visited in the drought-affected Maharashtra region, there was one recurring theme in their stories: the skepticism they encountered from family members, who felt that entrepreneurialism was too ‘risky’ a pursuit for women.”

“Dhanashree, the owner of a number of small businesses in the rural Satara district, faced initial resistance from her family. She also had to contend with the loss of her left hand in an accident several years ago. But she didn’t let either obstacle stop her from making a success of her grocery and dairy business.”

“After participating in our business training project with the Mann Deshi Foundation, Dhanashree has expanded her operations, is now able to pay her children’s school fees and is determined to send her daughter to university.”

“The resilience, inventiveness and determination of these trailblazing women is inspiring – further proof that where ready-made jobs are scarce, enabling women to unlock their own entrepreneurial potential can generate boundless rewards.”

You can read the full article on the Huffington Post website.