Empowering Women Series – Creating Women Entrepreneurs

So many of us really do want to touch the lives of those less fortunate. When it comes down to brass tacks, do we really persevere and see the end result? Here is the story of an organization that spent time, effort and money on running an initiative that made a difference. Through the 10,000 Women initiative, the charitable foundation of a leading global investment banking and investment management firm fosters shared economic growth, by providing 10,000 under-served women around the world with business and management education. The story showcases how through sustained efforts of providing management education and mentoring to women entrepreneurs a ripple effect is felt on GDP growth across geographies.

download (1)The 10,000 Women initiative was launched in 2008 by a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm, providing 10,000 women from across 56 countries with business and management education, mentoring and networking.

10,000 Women has supported women from countries as diverse as Liberia, Egypt, Brazil, India and China through a network of 100 academic and nonprofit partners. More than 30 of the world’s leading business schools have participated in the program. The initiative is founded on research conducted by the investment firm – Womenomics and Women Hold up Half the Sky – the World Bank and others which suggests that such an investment can have a significant impact on GDP growth.

10,000 Women graduates report immediate and sustained business growth. Eighteen months after completing the program, nearly 70% of surveyed graduates have increased their revenue and nearly 60% have added new jobs. On average, graduates doubled the size of their workforces and revenues increased nearly fivefold. An independent assessment by the International Center for Research on Women found that graduates attributed changes in their businesses performance and increased confidence to the business and management education and support they received through the program. 10,000 Women has demonstrated that investing in women creates a virtuous cycle, as women use their income and skills to support their families and communities. Nine out of ten participants pay it forward by mentoring and teaching business skills to other women.

images10,000 Women and IFC are bringing together their resources and expertise to launch the first-ever global finance facility dedicated exclusively to women-owned SMEs, deepening 10,000 Women’s commitment to women entrepreneurs. The Investment Firms Foundation, IFC, and other investors will contribute up to $600 million to create The Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility, which will enable approximately 100,000 women entrepreneurs to access capital.

The Facility will be managed by IFC, the leading investment manager of global development finance vehicles, with a network of nearly 1,000 bank clients around the world. The Foundation will provide a $32 million anchor investment in order to catalyze capital from commercial investors and bilateral donors. The Facility will extend lines of credit and share risk with local banks in emerging markets enabling them to on-lend to women-owned SMEs.

In order to spur innovative approaches to lending to women entrepreneurs, The Foundation will provide an $18 million anchor donation to fund capacity building support for banks and women borrowers. Capacity building support will address the barriers to banks deploying capital and women entrepreneurs accessing it.

10,000 Women is committed to expanding business and management education to reach new high-potential women entrepreneurs around the world. Along with the capital this partnership will catalyze, women entrepreneurs will in turn have a much greater chance of reaching their full potential.