Today we are proud to release ‘Empowering Women, Broadening Horizons’, an independent evaluation of our Mentoring Women in Business Programme.
This programme uses technology to connect women entrepreneurs in developing and emerging economies with men and women mentors around the world. Below are a few of the inspirational women entrepreneurs featured in the report.
Nina (pictured right) and her husband run a company called Fresh Express Logistics, exporting locally harvested grapes from India to Europe. Nina joined our Mentoring Women in Business Programme because she needed support with marketing her products and handling clients. After working with her mentor, Tracy, Nina increased her revenue by over 30%, hired two new employees and started exporting her products to the Balkans.
After spending many years struggling to have her voice heard in Argentina’s male-dominated logistics industry, Mariela decided to launch her own company, Kalima Shipping and Logistics Solutions. However, difficult economic conditions made the business environment extremely challenging. Mariela worked closely with her mentor, Eric, to devise strategies to keep her enterprise afloat and secure new clients. Mariela has not only managed to retain 50% of her existing customers, she has also brokered a new partnership with a woman-led firm in Brazil, which has given her ten new clients. Mariela is currently working on setting up an NGO which will support local artisans to export their goods internationally
As a mother of three, Joy recognised a gap in the market for extra-curricular activities for young people in Kampala, Uganda. This motivated her to establish After School Hub, a space where children are encouraged to learn ‘beyond the classroom’. Joy’s mentor, Sai, supported her to grow her weekend cooking classes into a popular 12-day holiday programme. Joy is now providing sporting activities alongside lessons on farming and hygiene, and is developing partnerships with local organisations to provide training on cyber security for teenagers.
Sofia (pictured right) established Mexikatekatl in 2013 to support underpaid and isolated artisans to supply their traditional handicrafts to the Mexican tourist industry. She joined the Mentoring Women in Business Programme unsure of how to strategically and financially grow her business. Since working with her mentor, Katy, Sofia has seen huge growth. After her year of mentoring the number of companies she was selling to went from ten to 20. As a result, her revenue doubled. Sofia said that, “the most valuable aspect [of the programme] is to be part of a community of female entrepreneurs.”
Celia founded Inversiones Ecologicas, a Honduran company that transforms recycled paper and agricultural waste into products such as notebooks. She joined the programme to gain support with building a business plan that would enable her to sell her products internationally. Working with her mentor, Patricia, enabled her to fulfil this goal. After finalising a business plan and securing two grants, Celia was able to attract international customers at trade fairs. Her sales and revenue have increased by 18% and 33%, respectively, and she has hired two new employees, who she is now mentoring herself.
Putri owns This and That Enterprise, a tailoring company dedicated to making custom clothes for curvy women in Malaysia. Putri worked closely with her mentor, Philippe, to increase her visibility online and improve her financial planning skills, to ensure she was recording her profits and losses accurately. During her time in the programme, Putri’s business went from having fewer than five clients to having over 30. As a result, she was able to increase her revenue by 86%.