Best Projects 2018 features all the nominated entries submitted to the Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition under ‘Submit your Project’ category. All the entries consist of innovative projects run by existing enterprises in the form of businesses, NGOs or informal programs. If you want to know the 10 finalists in this category click HERE
Empowering women through entrepreneurship
Explain your project in details:
The vision behind EmpowHer is simple: womens economic and social empowerment can be achieved by supporting womens entrepreneurship. Through our local centers dedicated to women entrepreneurs or through one of our grass-root partners office, we: - Equip women with the necessary tools by providing training programs to strengthen entrepreneurial culture and build capacity in financial literacy, communication, resource management, sales strategy and personal growth. - Support women by facilitating the access to networks and providing quality support to fight isolation and increase their impact. EmpowHer provides women entrepreneurs with coaching and day-to-day counseling to unlock creativity. - Strengthen womens leadership capacities by increasing self-esteem and decision-making skills, and help them become role models within their communities and beyond. Our train-the-trainer approach enables them to endorse the role of mentors for their communities and share their knowledge to create positive impact. Our field studies have shown that there is high demand for trainings, but little availability for relevant, wide-scale programs. Our innovative methodology, focused on leadership development, is adaptable to all women entrepreneurs no matter their background, level of education or business sector. Our goal is for each woman to be at the source of her own empowerment: they carry the solutions to their problems and those of their communities. Thus, EmpowHer pays particular attention to emerging women-led initiatives with high potential for social and environmental impact. Currently, we are implementing a diverse range of projects in France and West Africa aimed at providing training and resources, as well as raising awareness on gender equality by promoting women entrepreneurs. Highlighting successful female role models in various fields encourages younger generations to pursue their own dreams, and embrace entrepreneurship as an opportunity to close the gender gap.
Impact of your enterprise on sustainable development
EmpowHer is fully dedicated to the reduction of gender inequality through the promotion of entrepreneurship as a sustainable economic opportunity for women. Of the 1,300 women entrepreneurs trained in 10 countries, 80% are now financially proficient, 100% have acquired new enterprise management skills, and 56% have increased their investment capacity. We track results according to our internal impact measurement methodology and by December 2017 we observed a 92 % overall self-confidence increase and that 62% of women are now at ease speaking in public. To enhance legitimacy and long-term empowerment, our methodology is based on a train-the-trainers approach: we encourage women to become strong leaders and advocates for better access to resources and for recognition, within their communities and beyond. One of the most defining sustainability factors is that 100 % of the women we have trained share their knowledge with their peers, which is to show the capability women have of uplifting each other and creating opportunities for themselves. In the interest of promoting high impact women-led initiatives on climate change, EmpowHer has supported 8 and is currently supporting 14 social entrepreneurs in the sustainable development sector in France. In Niger, our Hub is focused on female entrepreneurship and environmental issues, and we organized awareness-raising activities for youth in partnership with Young Volunteers for the Environment (JVE, a local NGO) for over 600 participants. The center itself is ecofriendly, with upcycled furniture and an organic garden.
Sustainability and future plans
Our main long-term goal is to create a more sustainable model and to increase our social impact. Our ambition today is to develop our vision and methodology much more widely through the creation of an international network dedicated to women entrepreneurs. This development will be carried out as follows: - We are creating and developing locally based structures, or Hubs. This will be done according to a social franchising model, which will make the development of our trainings and empowerment programs possible both on a local and regional level. The first two have already been successfully launched in Ivory Coast and Niger. - This local strategy approach will be backed up by the activation of synergies with other local structures and collaboration opportunities on an international level (exchange of good practices, network of women entrepreneurs on a national, regional and international level...). - The sustainability of our local organizations will rely on a social business model. With a mix of both revenue-based activities and funding from corporations and governmental institutions we are creating a more stable and sustainable economical structure. - We are also developing a scalable training of trainer program in order to deploy national networks of EmpowHer external trainers, both as a revenue source and a way to increase localized impact.
Your profile as an entrepreneur
I grew up in Brittany in a family of entrepreneurs. Like many women, I always felt that there were inequalities around me but I didnt realize that I had the capacity to make a difference. By the age of 22, my business studies led me to set up a project for women micro-entrepreneurs in Asia and Africa. I discovered these womens amazing potential and was convinced that it was possible to bring concrete support to help them develop their businesses. In Cambodia, I had a defining moment when I met Sokkey, an amazing woman who was creating her business to be less dependent on an abusive husband. I saw first hand that provided women like her with a few resources and tools were enough to channel their ambition and ideas. I finally realized that my ability to support women in their entrepreneurial projects was a source of empowerment for them and for me. I founded EmpowHer when I came back to France in 2013, all the while working an investment bank, but I yearned to launch my own social business and felt the desire to make a difference for women. By 2015, I decided to dedicate myself fully as CEO of the organization. It has been an amazing journey, with EmpowHer growing fourfold between 2016 and 2017 when we opened our Hubs in Ivory Coast and Niger. EmpowHer has gained positive recognition as I was elected Forbs Europe 30 under 30 social entrepreneur of the year, winner of the Next Generation Women Award by McKinsey&Company and laureate of the ChangemakerxChange organized by Ashoka. Today, at 29 years old, I am concentrating on scaling my organization and supporting as many women entrepreneurs as possible for a lasting impact on gender equality worldwide.