The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, DHL Express, and AWIEF are launching a ground-breaking partnership to bring vital entrepreneurial skills and support to women across South Africa.
The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women’s HerVenture mobile learning app has been developed specifically for women who own micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises in low and middle-income countries. The app is currently available in Vietnam, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Kenya, having supported over 41,000 women since its launch in 2018. Now, thanks to support from DHL Express, it comes to South Africa, available for free to women across the country so they can grow their businesses.
This vital initiative comes at a crucial time: COVID-19 has drastically changed the way women entrepreneurs everywhere live and work, pushing them further into a digital world. For their businesses to survive, these women must be equipped with the knowledge and resources to move online, so the Foundation has added new learning modules to Her Venture in digital marketing and e-commerce, supporting women to navigate the ‘new normal.’
Supporting the growth of women-owned enterprises provides South Africa with an important opportunity to generate sustainable economic livelihoods, reduce poverty and grow the economy, according to a 2019 report by the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA), ‘Women and Youth Owned SMMEs: The Status, Needs, Challenges and Opportunities in South Africa’. Of all SMEs in South Africa, 47% (529,000) are owned by women; delivered through in-country partner AWIEF, HerVenture aims to reach at least 1,600 of these women entrepreneurs by the end of October 2021. The enhanced knowledge it offers means greater business success for women across the country, bringing huge benefits to families, local communities, and the economy.
“Sub-Saharan African economies lose nearly $100 billion a year because of the gender gap in the labour market and the current COVID-19 crisis is exacerbating many existing inequalities the women entrepreneurs we work with already face. Following HerVenture’s positive impacts on tens of thousands of women’s businesses in Nigeria and Kenya, as well as Vietnam and Indonesia, we are delighted to bring our flagship app to South Africa. By partnering with businesses like DHL and expert local organisations like AWIEF, we can support women entrepreneurs in South Africa and beyond to fulfil their potential and make progress towards our shared goal of closing the gender gap in economic participation.”Emily Scott, Director of Programmes, the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women
“Research has shown that there are more women entrepreneurs than men in Sub-Saharan Africa, yet opportunities to scale, access to funding, and training for women-led businesses on the continent remain disproportional. Our purpose at DHL is ‘Connecting people and improving lives.’ Equality and inclusion remain key priorities for us as an organisation, therefore our partnership with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women is an important step in supporting women-owned businesses, as they are a vital component of economic growth, resulting in increased jobs which yield a greater impact within the communities in which they operate. The launch of the HerVenture app in South Africa is intended to reach 1,600 women-led businesses (at no cost to them) in South Africa by the end of October 2021. Women make up 58% of Africa’s self-employed population, and through HerVenture these businesses will receive the necessary digital and technological skills development to future proof their businesses.”Hennie Heymans, CEO, DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa
“Our exciting partnership with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and DHL will surely take us to new heights in the women’s economic advancement and empowerment space in South Africa. The HerVenture app’s new launch creates a great opportunity for women entrepreneurs of small and growing businesses to tap into and further expand their entrepreneurial skills and mindset, enabling them to start and scale their businesses in a sustainable manner. We are very thrilled about this new collaboration and eager to witness the new app’s lasting positive impact on women entrepreneurs.”Irene Ochem, Founder and CEO, AWIEF
“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 through the HerVenture 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 and HerVenture app user, Nairobi, Kenya