Empowering women business owners through financial literacy
Today, women entrepreneurs worldwide face significant barriers in accessing financial services. Research shows that women-owned entities represent more than 30 percent of registered businesses globally, but only 10 percent of women entrepreneurs have access to the capital they need. In Nigeria, just over 34 percent of women have access to a bank account. These barriers prevent women from growing their businesses and participating fully in the economy.
To address this gap, the ExxonMobil Foundation partnered with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women to develop the Road to Women’s Business Growth initiative. This innovative program aims to build the business management and financial literacy skills of women entrepreneurs in Nigeria and Mexico, empowering them with the knowledge and tools they need to grow profitable and sustainable businesses.
The initiative kicked off in early 2016 in Lagos, Abuja and Uyo. Over the course of the first year, the Road to Women’s Business Growth program trained 500 women small business owners using a custom-built curriculum that combines in-class instruction and online learning. Following the financial literacy and investment readiness trainings, the women entrepreneurs continued to receive support to help build their businesses. In addition, 100 participants received more intensive business support, including workshops, mentoring and linkages to financial services, investment and markets. The Road to Women’s Business Growth program was replicated in Mexico in 2018.
The Road to Women’s Business Growth is an innovative collaboration between ExxonMobil and the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women. Together, the foundations have developed a number of services and initiatives designed to provide thousands of women entrepreneurs with the skills needed to start and grow businesses, including an award-winning mobile learning tool called Business Women, which reached over 100,000 women across Nigeria, Indonesia and Tanzania.