At the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, we are ambitious.
We are ambitious for the incredible women from across the world that we work with. We are ambitious that entrepreneurship becomes a growing opportunity enabling women’s economic empowerment and equality. We are ambitious for the eco-system to better support women and their businesses. We are ambitious for the growth, development and sustainability of our own organisation so we can help incredible women around the world fulfil their potential. Our new strategy ‘Women entrepreneurs. Redefining the future’ will ensure we can bring these ambitions to life. I’m excited to tell you more about it.
Why a new strategy now?
In December 2018, the World Economic Forum predicted that it would take 202 years to achieve economic equality between men and women. But at the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, we have no intention of waiting two centuries for women to achieve economic parity with men.
New analysis by the Boston Consulting Group shows that if women and men participated equally as entrepreneurs, global GDP could rise by 3 to 6 %, boosting the global economy by $2.5 to $5 trillion.
If we don’t invest in women’s economic empowerment, we are holding back global development. But more than that, we will continue to be complicit in denying basic human rights to half the world’s population. And we don’t yet know what incredible outcomes could be accomplished if women and girls had economic equality – because no country in the world has achieved it. But research suggests the potential for social change and economic development is on a scale beyond our imagination. Women entrepreneurs could open new frontiers in every field of business, bringing us closer to solutions for the world’s most pressing problems and transforming the way we live our lives. We must help to release the potential of women and in doing so they will redefine the future.
Gladys, who appears on the cover of our new strategy,
is the owner of a juice bar café and guesthouse in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
What we will achieve through our new strategy?
From now until the end of 2022, we aim to empower over 100,000 women and girls in low and middle-income countries to fulfil their potential as entrepreneurs. We will work in places where entrepreneurship offers a powerful path to financial independence and places where decent work for women is more scarce.
We will focus on working with women who own or are starting up small and growing enterprises and also women micro-entrepreneurs involved in small-scale informal work who may be vulnerable to poverty or exploitation. Alongside this, we’ll identify flagship programmes that we can develop into a portfolio of products and services that can be delivered by partners in places that we are currently unable to reach.
We will also explore how we can offer support to girls and young women who aspire to be entrepreneurs. Increasingly we will put the new generation of women entrepreneurs front and centre of our plans, as according to Plan International’s Triple Challenge Report, “young women represent the majority of the 628 million young people aged 15-24 who have neither a job nor an education”.
In addition to these programmatic focuses, the Foundation will solidify our ambition to create an ecosystem around women entrepreneurs that enables them to thrive by increasing our advocacy focus. And we are already increasing our focus on strategic partnerships, specifically on relationships that increase the sustainability of our work.
Our key milestones
The experience and expertise we have developed over the last decade, tells us that this strategy will bring us closer to achieving our vision – for every woman and girl to enjoy equal economic opportunities so they can live to their full potential. The targets we plan to reach over the next few years are:
- By 2020, we will:
- have a new framework in place to measure our impact based on our theory of change, so we can keep improving our work and share what we learn.
- launch a global campaign to increase the awareness of the challenges and opportunities for women’s entrepreneurship.
- By the end of 2020, we will:
- have researched and tested a programme of work to help young women and adolescent girls discover the power of entrepreneurship.
- have an established advocacy programme in at least two countries where we work, rooted in knowledge gained through our programmes and supported by groundbreaking research and new policy positions.
- By the end of 2021, we will:
- have expanded our entrepreneurship work with owners of small and growing enterprises across up to 10 focus countries, with greater emphasis than ever on impact, innovation and technology.
- And our larger network of local partners will help us to deliver greater impact to more micro-entrepreneurs and women living in poverty.
- By 2022, we will:
- offer mentoring in multiple languages, along with additional leadership development programmes and training resources.
- be established as a thought leader, bringing insights, stories and evidence of the power of women’s entrepreneurship to the global stage.
- And by the end of 2022, we will:
- have raised £10million for women entrepreneurs, strengthened our organisation so we have increased financial sustainability, strong systems and processes and a culture that fully empowers our staff.
- have helped more than 100,000 women and girls to have increased agency and fulfil their entrepreneurship potential.
Work with us:
Our strategy needs to be aspirational because we see every day that when women entrepreneurs have the support and opportunities to thrive, the future is transformed: businesses flourish, communities prosper, economies grow and attitudes shift.
We want to work with you to ensure women and girls have the economic rights and freedoms they are too often denied, so together we can move the world in a whole new direction.