The potential of women entrepreneurs remains largely untapped in developing and emerging markets, with many still lacking the skills, capital and access to markets they need to be successful micro, small and growing business owners. Women are also three times more likely to operate in the informal economy due to legal and cultural constraints, which restricts the potential for their businesses to grow.
The Enterprise Development Programme addresses these business challenges by delivering tailored business training, facilitating business registration and enhancing access to capital and markets. We focus on women who have achieved some level of success but need support to take their business to the next level. Our goal over the next three years is to extend our reach, transforming the lives of over 3,500 women entrepreneurs. We will do this by working with non-profit, public and private sector organisations internationally.
Our tailored support equips women entrepreneurs with the tools to transition into small and growing businesses. As a result their incomes will be raised, jobs will be created and women will have a stronger voice in their communities. This opens opportunities for more income and as a result better health, education and security for them, their families and communities.
Working with local, national and international partners, our projects providing business support have already made a difference to women entrepreneurs in India, Israel, Kenya, Lebanon, Malawi and Palestine.
In Lebanon, Sahar – an entrepreneur who raises bees and produces honey – is making real progress. Prior to joining our project with Tomorrow’s Youth Organization and the Rene Moawad Foundation, Sahar struggled with business management. After an initial four-day intensive business planning workshop, followed by coaching from a specialist Business Advisor, Sahar is now receiving business incubation support from the programme. She is focusing on improving her bookkeeping skills, developing a corporate identity and meeting with potential investors. With the support of advisors in the programme, Sahar has secured a loan so she could buy packaging materials and expand to meet increasing demand. As a result, she has already seen an immediate 60% increase in the profit from her business.
Our work in India is making an extraordinary impact on women entrepreneurs’ businesses. Bala Tripura Sundari owns a company which trains and recruits graduates into technical Engineering/ IT positions according to her client organisations’ worker requirements. Prior to joining our project, she relied on clients through her family’s business and was struggling to generate steady revenue. With the support of her mentor, Radhika, who encouraged Bala to think bigger and reach beyond her familial networks, she was able to identify and tap into local markets for sourcing new clients. This dramatically increased her customer base by 40% and revenue by nearly 500% from 7.5lakhs (£8,400) to 35 lakhs (£39,000).
We need partners who share our vision of a world where women have equal opportunities and the capability, confidence and capital necessary to establish and grow businesses, resulting in a brighter future for the women themselves and their communities as a whole. We invite you to work with us to drive the Enterprise Development Programme forward. Find out more about our partners and how you can get involved.