Road to Growth: A model for boosting women’s business success 

Published: October 2018
Our Road to Women’s Business Growth initiative, developed in partnership with the ExxonMobil Foundation, aims to boost the financial literacy and business management skills of women owners of small businesses. This report seeks to add further insight to the critical discourse evidencing effective interventions to advance women’s economic empowerment. Drawing on the findings of an independent evaluation of the Road to Growth pilot in Nigeria, conducted by the London School of Economics’ Innovation Co-Creation Lab, it presents encouraging evidence that our model delivered significant impact for women entrepreneurs.


Understanding How to Unleash the Untapped Potential of Women Entrepreneurs in Mexico

Published: January 2018
This report was produced by Value for Women (VFW) as part of our Road to Women’s Business Growth project in Mexico, supported by the ExxonMobil Foundation. Aimed at understanding Mexico’s current entrepreneurial ecosystem and the financial and non-financial barriers facing female entrepreneurs, the report summarizes a more comprehensive assessment undertaken in 2017 which examined the characteristics of women-led, small and growing businesses in Mexico. The report is also available in Spanish.

This infographic summarises the report’s key findings.

Mentoring report cover

Empowering Women, Broadening Horizons
An Independent Evaluation Of The Mentoring Women in Business Programme

Published: June 2016
Supported by the Qualcomm® Wireless Reach™ initiative, Bank of America and Marsh & McLennan Companies, we have published this report on the results achieved by our Mentoring Women in Business Programme. Since its pilot in 2010, the programme has supported over 2,000 women entrepreneurs in over 90 low and middle income countries. This report examined outcomes from the programme’s first five cohorts of mentee and mentor graduates.


Published: November 2014
Together with the ExxonMobil Foundation we have published a report, Evaluating Business Women, a Mobile Value Added Service for Women Entrepreneurs.  The Business Women service was designed through a partnership with the ExxonMobil Foundation and Nokia to deliver business training specifically tailored for women entrepreneurs via SMS. Since it first launched in 2012, the service has reached over 100,000 women in Nigeria, Indonesia and Tanzania.


Published: November 2011
The mobile industry is fast-paced and diverse, driven largely by innovation and the huge increases in consumer demand that have occurred in recent years. Women in particular stand to gain a great deal from selling mobile products and services, as setting up a mobile phone business presents fewer barriers than many other income-generating activities that exist in an emerging market. However, in order for women to flourish within the mobile industry, they must be supported by the companies and network operators that serve the markets in which these women live. The mobile sector has a significant opportunity to promote positive socio-economic change by fostering the capability and confidence of women entrepreneurs working in their retail chains and by recognizing and providing solutions to overcoming traditional barriers to finance that many women face.


Published: July 2012
The Cherie Blair Foundation and GSMA Development Fund published a ground-breaking report in February 2010, quantifying the gender gap in mobile technology across developing countries – Women & Mobile: A Global Opportunity. The report shows that, by extending the benefits of mobile phone ownership to more women, a host of social and economic goals can be advanced, but 300 million women are missing out on the mobile revolution. This translates to a $13bn revenue opportunity for mobile operators.


Published: April 2012
The exponentially increasing rate of mobile penetration in low and middle income countries offers many opportunities for women entrepreneurs to grow and expand their enterprises through the use of technology. However, women entrepreneurs also face specific challenges to business growth, such as limited access to adequate marketing channels and insufficient training opportunities. Historically, few mobile solutions have had the scale necessary to empower large numbers of women, and the majority of services for business use are generally not tailored to address the precise regional and local barriers that women face.


Published: February 2012
Research indicates that there is a significant gender gap in access to mobile technology in South Asia, where a man is 37% more likely to have access to a mobile phone than a woman. Closing this gender gap could be nothing short of life-changing, enabling women to access vital business and financing opportunities that can, in turn, enhance their incomes and livelihoods.


Cherie joined a panel at the Skoll World Forum to discuss business as a catalyst for poverty alleviation and its role in women’s financial inclusion.

At the Fortune-TIME Global Forum in Rome Cherie joined Bineta Diop, Special Envoy for Women, Peace, and Security at the African Union, to discuss how we can harness the economic power of women and girls.

Before moderating a panel discussion at the Trust Women Conference, Cherie was interviewed on Newsnight about her views on gender equality and the work of the Foundation.

Cherie in CNCB interview

During the BNP Paribas Sustainable Future Forum, Cherie spoke to CNBC about our work to leverage technology and empower women entrepreneurs.

During the United Nations General Assembly in New York this year, Cherie joined a great line up at the Concordia Summit for a conversation about how achieving gender equality affects more than women.

CB on Jeremy Maggs 1

Cherie speaks to Jeremy Maggs on PowerFM radio about the barriers facing women entrepreneurs in developing and emerging economies. She also talks about the findings of our Mentoring Women in Business Programme report. Re-listen here.

Programme Videos

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