Road to Growth was successfully piloted with 500 women business owners in Nigeria in 2015-16 and was subsequently launched in Mexico in 2018. Read more about the impact of the Nigeria pilot.

Following on from these initiatives, we continued our collaborative venture with ExxonMobil Foundation in 2019 in Nigeria. This partnership reached more than 12,000 women entrepreneurs across Nigeria through a three phased learning journey to build business management and financial literacy skills.

Following this success and building on lessons learnt, we are continuing our collaboration with Exxon Mobil Foundation once again in 2020.

This year, we plan to support an additional 10,000 women entrepreneurs in Nigeria through an enhanced Road to Growth programme. The project aims to leverage its digital learning tools to provide a learning journey experience to women entrepreneurs to enhance the business skills and boost their confidence in becoming successful owners of thriving enterprises. In addition to developing the skills, confidence and networks of women entrepreneurs through HerVenture and blended learning, we will build on our learnings to date and bring new elements to the programme. We are introducing a new component supporting women’s agency and leadership, in order to strengthen women entrepreneurs’ capacity to identify, challenge and change barriers to women’s economic empowerment in their local context. This new element will increase women entrepreneurs’ ability to contribute to systemic change and ultimately enhance women’s opportunities for business success.

We will support 10,000 women entrepreneurs through a two-phased approach:

Phase 1: HerVenture

Ten thousand women access learning, networking and support opportunities through our mobile learning app HerVenture. The app features six learning ‘tracks’, including launching a business, managing business records, product innovation, expanding business operations, and accessing markets and finance. Based on user input, the app suggests a personalised learning roadmap for each entrepreneur. It also allows users to find and connect with each other, as well as learn about local business events.  We are launching a new track on e-commerce, responding to the needs of women entrepreneurs during and post Covid-19. Responding to high demand, an iOS version of the app, currently only available on Android, will be released in August 2020 to make this learning opportunity accessible to a wider pool of women entrepreneurs.

Phase 2: Blended learning

250 of participating women will be selected to undertake financial literacy and investment readiness training over six weeks. The women will take an online training course structured around a custom-built ‘Road to Growth’ blended learning curriculum. This will be supplemented with face-to-face training and support and peer-to-peer learning. In light of Covid19-related restrictions, face-to-face element of the programme may be transferred online, making it a fully digital learning experience.

This stage will also present the women with networking opportunities within the group, which serve as highly successful professional and personal support systems, as demonstrated by experiences of previous cohorts of participating women.


Established in 2003, the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) is an education centre that offers business development services to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), including training, advisory services, mentoring, experts-in-residence, network meetings, and access to markets and information. EDC’s clients include the World Bank Group, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Goldman Sachs and local small and medium enterprise banks in Nigeria.


Road to Growth: A model for boosting women’s business success

Published: October 2018
Our Road to Women’s Business Growth initiative, developed in partnership with the ExxonMobil Foundation, aims to boost the financial literacy and business management skills of women owners of small businesses. This report seeks to add further insight to the critical discourse evidencing effective interventions to advance women’s economic empowerment. Drawing on the findings of an independent evaluation of the Road to Growth pilot in Nigeria, conducted by the London School of Economics’ Innovation Co-Creation Lab, it presents encouraging evidence that our model delivered significant impact for women entrepreneurs.

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