An estimated 10,000 Kenyan women entrepreneurs will this year benefit from a Women Empowerment Programme launched between Unilever’s Sunlight, Absa Bank Kenya, and the United Nations Institute of Training and Research (UNITAR).
The campaign will empower and assist female entrepreneurs across Kenya in growing their businesses into long-term success. Following the next round of courses, 5,000 participants will be equipped with entrepreneurial knowledge and skills in financial literacy, innovation, and leadership, allowing them to build sustainable and profitable businesses.
The program aims to reach, engage, and encourage women to invest in themselves and their businesses by joining Sunlight’s “Women of More” movement. This movement recognizes that marketing a business is just as important as upskilling and will provide free advertising to a select group of women who have completed the courses.
The program includes a 10-week course, with the first phase reaching 2,000 women this year, while the second phase, which will be completed in June, will uplift another 3,000 participants. Free billboard advertising space has been given to 16 women-owned businesses and free radio advertising for 30 businesses who have completed the training. Between January and July last year, the Sunlight campaign donated its media space to over 170 of the women to increase their visibility.
Research has shown that while female-owned businesses in Kenya, as in many other African countries, are the beating heart of the economy, they wrestle with moving their struggling business to one that is thriving. And it is tough to ramp up from a micro-enterprise level. This is especially the reality for women who come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“There is so much potential among women entrepreneurs in Kenya that’s not being realized. This program is about empowering them with the skills and knowledge to build sustainable, profitable ventures. We want to help them move their businesses so they can improve their lives and livelihoods, and contribute even more to their communities,” says Henry Muchauraya, Unilever’s East Africa Home Care Director.
On her part, Absa Bank’s Business Banking Director Elizabeth Wasunna-Ochwa reiterated the bank’s commitment to supporting women entrepreneurs through the joint initiative.
“Today, women account for a third of all businesses in the country and contribute to more than half of all business transactions, according to the Central Bank of Kenya. As Absa, we are convinced that empowering women entrepreneurs’ skills and knowledge will be a key driver for socio-economic growth and by working together with like-minded stakeholders such as Unilever and UNITAR, we can achieve this by improving their opportunities and outcomes in global value chains,” said Wasunna.
The “Women of More” movement was launched in 2020 as a successful pilot project and aims to empower 100,000 women entrepreneurs in East Africa by 2026.
WHO CAN PARTICIPATE?
Issued by: Weber Shandwick East Africa.
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