Women’s History Month: Celebrating 14 Years of Supporting Women Entrepreneurs
Although they face many barriers, with the right support women entrepreneurs can be an unstoppable force, changing the world around them for the better.
Since 2008, we’ve directly reached over 200,000 incredible women entrepreneurs—and by extension their families and communities—across more than 100 countries. This Women’s History Month, we’ve brought together the stories of just some of the ambitious, passionate, driven and creative women we’ve supported over recent years.
These women are providers, creators, role models and change-makers in their communities. More importantly, as we work towards a future where all people have equal opportunities regardless of their gender, they are history in the making. We hope you’ll join us in celebrating them and their stories!
Gladys: Sierra Leone Women Entrepreneurs, Sierra Leone, 2012
As with most small businesses, after she set up the Oasis Juice Bar and Café in Freetown, Gladys needed additional support around business management and development. She joined OWNERS (Organization of Women’s Networks for Entrepreneurs), which the Foundation developed with the African Foundation for Development. OWNERS supported Gladys with business management training courses and one-to-one coaching, which saw her grow and diversify, taking on 15 staff and opening a six-bedroom guesthouse. Sadly, the Ebola pandemic hit businesses across the country hard, including Gladys’s, but OWNERS provided support to help her through an incredibly difficult period, scaling her business down so it survived the crisis rather than crumbled.Find out more about Sierra Leone Women Entrepreneurs
Jovita: Women’s Small and Micro Enterprise Development, Tanzania, 2013
Jovita runs Jonoma Products, a cleaning products manufacturer. She took part in our Business Women in Tanzania programme in 2013. Through the training, she realised how important it was to register her business, keep records and secure capital to invest in further growth. This opened up countless doors for her business to flourish.Find out more about Business Women in Tanzania Read Jovita's story
Jula: Usaha Wanita, Indonesia, 2014
Jula runs a grocery store. In 2014, she downloaded our Usaha Wanita mobile learning tool, developed in partnership with ExxonMobil Foundation and Nokia. Thanks to the app, Jula started to think more creatively about how she could make her business a success. She increased her stock levels and soon found that “more people are coming in here because they think this is a complete store”. Soon her profits began to grow, enabling her to save money for her children’s education.Find out more about Usaha Wanita
Gina: Mentoring Women in Business, Malaysia, 2015
With a background in education, Gina had visited rural villages and realised that many children were out of school because their mothers couldn’t afford the fees. She created an online platform where these women could sell their products and earn money to support their families. However, without business skills or IT experience, she didn’t know where to start. Gina joined our Mentoring programme and was matched with mentor Annette, an entrepreneur from Sweden. Together, they wrote a business plan and strategised the most effective way to market Gina’s business, enabling her to successfully launch, start to turn a profit, and enable other women to send their children to school.Find out more about Mentoring Women in Business Read Gina's story
Jameela: Advancing Palestinian Women Entrepreneurs, Palestine, 2016
After her husband died at a young age, Jameela was left with four sons to support. With no source of income or formal business training to fall back on, she started taking on small embroidery jobs to earn money. She set up a small shop and made it her mission to employ other widows and women who were struggling. Through our Advancing Palestinian Women Entrepreneurs project, she developed a new business plan, a budget for growth and a marketing strategy. As a result, she secured a bank loan which enabled her to buy a more efficient sewing machine and increase her production. Her business growth enabled her to support her family and provide more opportunities for other women.Find out more about Advancing Palestinian Women Entrepreneurs
Cecilia: Mentoring Women in Business, Costa Rica, 2017
Cecilia’s family owns a coffee farm in Costa Rica. Frustrated by how much litter she would constantly find in her fields, and the time and resources it took to remove, she had an idea to set up a recycling collection centre and clean up the plantation. She joined our Mentoring programme and was matched with mentor Paul, an executive at a large pharmaceutical company in the USA. With his guidance and motivation, she strategised setting up her recycling centre and launching an environmental education programme for her community. Despite setbacks, with her mentor’s support her confidence and determination grew, and she went on to launch the town’s recycling programme and work with a number of local schools.Find out more about Mentoring Women in Business Read Cecilia's story
Neeta: Ekta, India, 2018
Driven by a desire to put her education to good use, Neeta launched a community-run initiative making and selling jam. Seeing its benefits, she then began mobilising other women in neighboring villages to also go into business together. She received great recognition, becoming President of a government-led skills development scheme, but her social development activities led to a loss of focus on her own business. She joined Ekta, a programme we delivered with support from the Swarovski Foundation and the Hemraj Goyal Foundation, and explored the basics of mass versus differentiated products. Her understanding of product marketing grew, as did her sales!Read Neeta's story Find out more about Ekta
Marisol: Road to Growth, Mexico, 2019
Marisol is a film producer in Mexico, setting up her business because she had a dream of striking out on her own and doing things her own way. She connected with Road to Growth because “there was no direction in the business at the time – I needed to do something; we needed a vision”, and found huge benefits in linking with other women entrepreneurs on the programme, working together to review their business problems and find solutions. The changes Roat to Growth encouraged her to make helped her business grow. She developed her perspective, and through her filmmaking is able to bring her community’s stories to the world.Find out more about Road to Growth in Mexico Read Marisol's story
Asilia: HerVenture, Kenya, 2020
Asilia owns a grocery shop in Kenya. As the global pandemic hit, we brought our flagship business skills training app HerVenture to women entrepreneurs in Kenya, thanks to support from our partner DHL Express. Asilia is one of the 1,100 Kenyan women who took the opportunity to make use of the app so far. Thanks to its training and resources, she was able strengthen her business against COVID-19’s impacts, stay open even through a huge economic downturn, and put food on the table after her husband has lost his job.Find out more about HerVenture in Kenya Read Asilia's story
Ejiro: Road to Growth, Nigeria, 2021
Ejiro is the CEO and founder of a healthy foods manufacturer in Nigeria, dedicated to sourcing from and supporting other woman-owned businesses. In 2020, she took part in our Road to Growth programme, reflecting now in 2021 on how it gave her the knowledge she needed to better handle her cashflow and improve her production plan, as well as the crucial confidence to succeed. She also strengthened her belief in the importance of women supporting women, and of the incredible ripple effect that comes from empowering women.Find out more about Road to Growth in Nigeria Read Ejiro's story
Ha: WEAVE, Vietnam, 2022
Ha Shanam is an entrepreneur living in Ta Xua A Village, a rural village in Northwest Vietnam. She is the founding partner of her business Tay Bac Tea and Specialties Company, which specialises in selling Shanam tea, an ancient snowshan tea brand. Ha took part in all three of our flagship programmes through our WEAVE initiative, with big aspirations for her traditional tea brand. She gained confidence and knowledge that brought growth and success to her business.Find out more about WEAVE Read Ha's story
We’re directly supporting 100,000 more women to start & grow successful businesses
Our ambitious and impactful 100,000 Women Campaign is raising £10 million in order to directly support another 100,000 women entrepreneurs across 2020, 2021 and 2022. Join us on our mission today!Partner with us Donate now Find out more about the campaign
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