Driving Economic Change through Women Entrepreneurs
Value for Women is a social enterprise that creates new solutions that foster women’s empowerment and gender inclusion. The UK-based enterprise believes in a world where businesses embrace economic inclusion and in the vital role that women play in driving entrepreneurship and performance.
Statistics show that women outsell men cookstoves sellers by nearly 3:1 (GACC, 2015). It is also interesting to note how women reinvest 90% of their income into their families and communities (Borges, 2007). According to the World Development Report 2012, “greater gender equality is smart economics, enhancing productivity and improving other development outcomes, including prospects for the next generation and for the quality of societal policies and institutions.”
Value for Women has a threefold focus, creating research, tools and training so that more women can participate in equal conditions in enterprises and value chains.
Research and Development: This involves uncovering new stories and data that demonstrates the tangible social and economic benefits of promoting gender inclusion.
Capacity Building: This encompasses delivering tailored training programmes that address social and cultural barriers to achieving gender inclusion. Value for Women has extensive experience in designing and delivering trainings for women entrepreneurs that combine both traditional business “hard” skills and soft skills in international contexts and settings
Tool and Programme Design: This involves helping partners unlock access to the long-term financial and social returns that a balanced approach to gender brings.
Value for Women has worked in over 25 countries in Africa, the Middle East, Asia the Americas to promote women’s participation, entrepreneurship and leadership with several partners including non-profits, corporate foundations, the United Nations, and international development agencies.
Some examples of the work that Value for Women has done to empower women in clean energy entrepreneurship are:
Partnering with the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GACC) to design gender capacity building tools and processes, such as gender sensitivity trainings, gendered value chain assessment tools, and an internal operations policies and gender training webinar for the SMEs in the clean energy sector.
Partnering with the Shell Foundation to test various gender lens business strategies for select Shell Foundation clean energy SME partners. Strategies to be tested under a six-month pilot include gender-inclusive hiring, recruiting and training of women in an organization’s sales force, specific sales techniques and methods to support women as sales agents, and various marketing strategies to ensure greater reach to women customers.