We're thrilled to celebrate with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women. Their HerVenture business skills app for women entrepreneurs wins UK's Third Sector Awards' Digital Innovation of the Year. Sinapis has been an implementing partner in Kenya for the past year as we help raise awareness for the tool, increase the number of downloads, and train women entrepreneurs through their in-person and virtual Road to Growth training program. We've seen over 3,500 downloads of the app and over 230 women register to join the Road to Growth programme, both providing easy to access and critical early stage business support for women trying to build a solid foundation that their small business can grow upon.
“After over a decade of putting mobile-tech at the heart of empowering women entrepreneurs in low and middle income countries I’m delighted the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women’s work has been recognised by this award” said the Foundation’s CEO Helen McEachern.
Press Release Provided by Cherie Blair Foundation:
The free-of-charge app has brought vital business skills and support to over 41,000 women across Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Vietnam and Indonesia, particularly throughout the pandemic, and has just this month also launched in Guyana.
The HerVenture mobile learning app has been developed specifically for women who own micro, small and medium sized enterprises in low and middle income countries. Launching in 2018, it has been developed and deployed across the world thanks to the support of organisations such as Qualcomm through its Qualcomm® Wireless Reach™ Initiative, ExxonMobilFoundation, DHL Express and USAID, delivered via a network of local partners so women can successfully grow their businesses.
“Since 2012, we have been working with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women because we understand that companies play a central role in helping to achieve gender equality” says Angela Baker, Senior Director, Corporate Responsibility, Qualcomm Incorporated. “This program is an example of how Qualcomm technologies are allowing women entrepreneurs flexibility and access as they start and grow their businesses.”
“DHL Express is delighted to be collaborating with the Cherie Blair Foundation in supporting women entrepreneurs to reach their goals,” says John Pearson, CEO, DHL Express, “This is achieved by enabling their businesses to grow through the use of technology, especially during the recent pandemic where digital options have become even more critical to support women in business as much of their environment has been affected. We are thrilled that our mutual efforts have been recognised by the Third Sector Awards and we hope to support more and more women to achieve sustainable financial growth going forward.”
COVID-19 has drastically changed the way women entrepreneurs everywhere live and work, making them more reliant on the digital world. The Foundation is delighted to receive this important recognition for the innovative and incredibly valuable support that the app has offered women entrepreneurs since the pandemic’s onslaught.
Urgent research undertaken by the Foundation at the start of the pandemic highlighted two critical learning needs to help women’s businesses survive: e-commerce and digital marketing. Due to national and regional lockdowns and women’s increased domestic burdens the Foundation recognised that these needs had to be met digitally and quickly. The Foundation rapidly developed new and easily-digestible learning tracks on these topics through HerVenture, as well as making the app—previously only available on Android—available over iOS to increase its availability.
HerVenture’s rapid, relevant and easy-to-access support has assisted many thousands of women in navigating the ‘new normal’ and protecting themselves, their businesses, their families and their communities from potentially disastrous impacts resulting from the pandemic. In Kenya, for example, 2020’s target user numbers were quickly exceeded and within just a few months 44% of users had grown their savings and 68% of users felt optimistic that the financial situation of their families would improve as a result. Furthermore, supporting many thousands of women-owned business to survive and thrive provides societies with an important opportunity to generate sustainable livelihoods, reduce poverty and grow the economy at a time when that has never been more vital.
“Since I started this business, my life has changed. I’m able to put food on the table thanks to it, but it’s been hard during COVID. My husband has lost his job, and it’s not as well stocked in my shop as it was before. I have learned how to improve my business though theHerVenture app, for example I now buy goods from the rural areas for a cheaper price, and I have established a network, something I did not think of doing before. With the app I feel that I can continue doing business, even during COVID.”
- Asilia Otieno, grocery shop owner andHerVenture app user, Nairobi, Kenya