9mobile Partners Cherie Blair Foundation to Empower Female Entrepreneurs

Mary Nnah

The world as we all know is fast evolving with more women participating actively in the development of national economies. This implies that women’s entrepreneurship is a key driver of women’s economic participation.

However, as the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women’s new research on women entrepreneurs in low and middle-income countries reveals, COVID-19 threatens to roll back the clock on women’s entrepreneurship. The Foundation’s comprehensive report draws on responses from 125 women across 32 countries, with the highest percentage of responses coming from Nigerian women.

Most (83.8%) women surveyed report that the pandemic has had a negative impact on their businesses, and nearly four in ten (38.5%) report their business will or may have to close as a result.

It is also obvious that despite their contribution to the economy, Nigerian women continue to suffer a myriad of challenges in the labour market as entrepreneurs and as employees, in addition to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Therefore, in recognition of the outstanding roles of women entrepreneurs, as part of efforts to both support greater economic participation by women and prevent women from being forced out of the labour market by the pandemic, telecommunications operator 9mobile recently teamed up with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women to bring the Foundation’s award-winning business skills app, HerVenture, to Nigerian women entrepreneurs.

The HerVenture app is a women’s mobile learning app that supports female entrepreneurs to access the skills, confidence, and networks they need to grow their businesses. It has supported over 20,000 women entrepreneurs in Nigeria alone, and in response to the pandemic, the Foundation recently added new learning modules to HerVenture to aid women with business digitization and resilience, with fantastic take-up and results.

Speaking on the partnership, the Executive Director, Regulatory and Corporate Affairs, 9mobile, Abdulrahman Ado, noted that the decision to collaborate with the foundation on the HerVenture app stems from its commitment to leverage its technology and networks in promoting sustainable initiatives that support economic growth.

According to him, when women are empowered with the skills to make informed business decisions, the ripple effect is felt practically in all sectors of the economy. “It is a known fact that empowering women economically boosts productivity, increases economic diversification, and stimulates other positive socio-cultural developments. Therefore we are harnessing our technology to support this very critical segment of society, to help build and grow their businesses, especially at this time when the world is going through a deadly pandemic that has continued to weaken economies around the world” Ado remarked.

“Given the effects of the pandemic and the imperative to fast-track the world into a digital economy and create more women entrepreneurs, there is an urgent need to support women to develop the business skills needed to succeed now and post-pandemic. The Foundation has responded to this need by enhancing the HerVenture app to offer new opportunities in the digital space, including e-commerce and digital marketing. That is why we are delighted to be working with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women to support their efforts to advance women’s entrepreneurship potentials in Nigeria by making available the HerVenture offerings to more women in the country,” he noted.

Commending 9mobile for the support, Chief Executive Officer, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, Helen McEachern, remarked that mobile network companies play an important part in providing the platform to reach the vast majority of women with the skills and support they need to grow their businesses and contribute their bit to national economic recovery and development.

She said, “We are thrilled to be working with 9mobile to help bring HerVenture to even more women in Nigeria. By working with the Foundation, 9mobile is helping to level the playing field for women entrepreneurs with the essential skills they need to make their businesses resilient and grow.”

Commenting on how HerVenture has helped transform her business, Idara Bassey, who operates a logistics service company in Lagos, remarked that the app has been instrumental in providing the insights to steer her business in the right direction.

On her part, Susan Shagbo, an Entrepreneur who has successfully used the app to support her business, remarked, “Fantastic and fully loaded app! I recommend this beautiful app for every woman considering becoming an entrepreneur or already an entrepreneur; your business will experience tremendous growth after going through the different modules.”

With HerVenture, users say that on an average, their profits increased by 38 per cent and 88 per cent of users increased their customer numbers. Also 89 per cent of Nigerian women using the app also reported that the network they had developed using the app has been helpful.

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