The potential of women entrepreneurs remains largely untapped in developing and emerging markets, with many lacking the access to capital, skills and equal opportunities needed to be successful business owners. In developing countries, women own only around 30% of small businesses and as little as 17% of medium enterprises. Women are also three times more likely to operate within the informal economy.
The Enterprise Development Programme addresses these challenges by enhancing access to capital and markets, delivering tailored business training, and facilitating business registration. We focus on strengthening links with financial service providers who can invest in women’s businesses, providing women with tailored financial literacy and awareness training, coupled with access to different types of investment choices. We also work in partnership with banks, micro-finance institutions and investment funds to encourage them to realise women’s market potential and create tailored products and services for them.
We want to ensure long-term progress. Our packaged support equips women entrepreneurs with the tools to transition into small and growing businesses, enabling women like Frederica from Sierra Leone to increase her customer base by 30%, and Ikhlas from Palestine to link to potential investors. This results in higher income, job creation and a stronger voice for women in their communities. By improving women’s income and financial autonomy, we can ensure better health, education and security for them, their families and society as a whole. Our goal over the next three years is to extend our reach, transforming the lives of over 3,500 women entrepreneurs.
The Enterprise Development Programme has reached 2,000 women across eight different countries. This includes providing 80 women in Palestine with one-to-one business training, enabling 60 women in Jerusalem to access capital to grow their businesses and facilitating the mentoring of over 980 women in India last year. We have created 60 new jobs in Lebanon and developed the first national business network for women entrepreneurs in Sierra Leone, already reaching over 150 women. We target sectors with the most demand and growth potential, and work with a cross-section of businesses from handmade crafts to tile manufacturing, from yoghurt production to hoteliers.
We look for partners who share our vision of a world where women have equal opportunities to engage in business and the freedom to be economically and socially independent. By enabling women to fulfil their potential, we can help them to create a brighter future for themselves, their families and society as a whole. We invite you to work with us to drive the Enterprise Development Programme Forward. Find out more about how you can get involved.