Fostering Israeli Women Entrepreneurs
Our Fostering Israeli Women Entrepreneurs programme took place from 2009-2016.
The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women has been working in partnership with the Western Galilee College (WGC) since 2009 to support women in Northern Israel to access higher education and to strengthen women-owned businesses in the region.
Employment and entrepreneurial opportunities are scarce for women in Western Galilee, forcing many to migrate to the centre of the country in search of work. However, women remain underrepresented in the labour force and studies show that businesses run by women suffer economically, commercially and managerially because female entrepreneurs struggle to access key management tools and knowledge. Such barriers hold women back from achieving personal and economic empowerment, and from contributing to their local communities. In order to address these issues, the Foundation and WGC have collaborated on two projects.
Higher Education Programme
In 2009, we developed a unique three-year higher education programme which provided tutoring, workplace training and business development opportunities for women. The interdisciplinary BA in Economics and Management gave young women the confidence and skills they needed to become successful entrepreneurs.
The first intake of women graduated in October 2012 and they quickly became role models in their communities. Some took jobs in the fields of business, IT or banking, or went on to set up their own enterprises, whilst others pursued further studies. In light of these successes, we supported a second intake of women, through a generous donation from the Cheryl Saban Self-Worth Foundation. These women graduated in the autumn of 2015.
Business Accelerator Training Programme
Building on the successful partnership, in 2014 the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and WGC – with the support of The Pratt Foundation – launched a slightly different type of programme, focusing on business accelerator training. We are supporting more established Jewish and Arab Israeli women-owned businesses. The programme equips the women entrepreneurs with both the theoretical and practical knowledge and tools to successfully manage and grow a business, through formal training sessions, face-to-face business coaching and personalised support and advice.
The first cohort of women completed the business accelerator training in January 2016 and a new cohort of 23 women entrepreneurs joined the project in March 2016. By targeting women entrepreneurs with growth-oriented businesses and the potential to generate employment opportunities, we not only empowered individual women but we also supported them in contributing to the wider economic development of the Western Galilee region. 94% strengthened their business skills, 60% grew their revenue, and 68% increased their access to markets.
Now I feel that the concept of entrepreneurship has become a part of me.
Of the Fostering Israeli Women Entrepreneurs programme participants:
94% strengthened their business skills
60% grew their income
68% increased their access to markets