Helping empower women entrepreneurs in developing and emerging economies
Dec 10, 2013
Many women in developing and emerging economies have the drive and ambition to become successful, but are held back by a lack of access to the business skills, technology and capital they need. To address this issue, the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women has developed an innovative program that combines mentoring with technology to offer one-on-one support to women entrepreneurs.
The organization was founded in 2008 by Cherie Blair, a lawyer and the wife of Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Blair set up her nonprofit because she believes that empowering women around the world allows them to play an important role in their economies and societies. As part of its commitment to fostering women’s economic development, Bank of America is partnering with the Cherie Blair Foundation.
The Cherie Blair Foundation’s “Mentoring Women in Business” program matches women in developing and emerging countries with mentors around the world. Using an online platform, participants spend a year working together to achieve their business goals — building “confidence, capability and capital.” The female entrepreneurs gain business skills and digital literacy, becoming part of a global community of women invested in each other’s success.
To date, Bank of America’s support has helped connect 400 women from around the world with mentors, nearly 60 of them bank employees. The program has helped entrepreneurs like Onty, a woman from Botswana who owns a small event company. Onty has worked with her Bank of America mentor, Cherie Arruda, a credit and banking product executive, to develop her business and financial plans. Onty and Cherie connect weekly, and work on business proposals, a business plan, and budgets and cash-flow management. Onty says that working with Arruda has built her confidence, increased her business acumen, and provided her with fresh ideas for her business.
Bank of America’s partnership with the Cherie Blair Foundation complements other programs for women’s empowerment the bank supports including the Global Ambassadors Program, 1000 Women for Mentoring and a host of regional volunteer programs. All contribute to the bank’s efforts to connect women leaders to tools and resources, and advance economic growth on a local—and global—scale.