The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women (the Foundation) will leverage the power of mobile technology to drive womens economic empowerment giving women entrepreneurs access to digital channels, training and valuable information, as well as a network of other aspiring entrepreneurs they need to grow their business.
The Foundation will develop an innovative mobile value-added service to empower 10,000 women entrepreneurs in one developing or emerging country (Nigeria, Tanzania, or Indonesia). The application will deliver bite-size information on essential business and financial management topics to women entrepreneurs. The application will also have a social networking functionality to allow women entrepreneurs to connect, share experiences, and grow an online community of successful entrepreneurs. The Foundation will identify one country in which to implement the project (Nigeria, Tanzania, or Indonesia) and carry out an in-depth study to better understand the country-specific context, and to assess the needs of women entrepreneurs there. The Foundation will tailor training content and features delivered through the application to equip women entrepreneur with the skills and tools they need to transform their micro and small businesses into thriving enterprises
The Foundation will measure success against a number of key metrics including the number of women who have expanded their businesses, networks, skills, confidence and access to financial services; as well as evidence of changes in quality of life of the women and their families, such as whether can afford better healthcare, or better education for their children.
The Foundations Mobile Technology Programme will oversee and manage the commitment, in collaboration with local implementation partners (local NGO and a mobile network operator). The Foundation is currently liaising with partners to secure financial and technical support.
1- 6 months: Planning phase; identify local partners, women entrepreneurs, geographical region
6- 12 months: Tailor mobile application and content, and pilot test with women entrepreneurs
12- 18 months: Roll out mobile application to women entrepreneurs
12 -24 months: Monitor, evaluate and communicate
With the recent adoption of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we have marked the beginning of a new era of international development. Gender is a central feature of the SDGs Outcome Document; it is highlighted as a standalone outcome and goal (SDG 5), and is integrated throughout the agreement. Never before has addressing gender inequality been so integral to a global development commitment.
In order to advance gender equality targets, a holistic coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International, will focus on three core issue areas of work: 1) Promoting Womens Economic Participation; 2) Addressing Violence Against Girls and Women; and, 3) Advancing Womens Leadership in both Private and Public sectors.
According to the OECD, Women make up 70% of worlds poor due to unequal access to economic opportunities. Many women have the ideas and ambition needed to become successful entrepreneurs, but are held back by numerous obstacles. According to the IFC, Limited access to training and networks continue to be one of the main barriers and 46-56% of women-owned MSMEs are underserved by financial institutions in developing countries. Women also face difficulties in accessing markets and their products are typically low-value and in less demand than mens.
The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women (the Foundation) has pioneered the use of technology to support women entrepreneurs. Technology breaks down barriers to deliver training, information, links to networks, and opportunities for financial inclusion which can lift women out of poverty and enable them to gain financial security. For example, the Foundation provided 100,000 women with business skills via a mobile app and an evaluation showed 90% said it gave them practical guidance to grow their business and become better informed entrepreneurs.