Women in Africa (WIA) and the Coca-Cola Foundation have launched a program that aims to impact 20,000 women entrepreneurs from 10 African countries over the next three years.
In its first year, the programme aims to support women entrepreneurs based in 3 countries: Kenya, Ivory Coast, and Nigeria.
“We are excited to roll out this new initiative as it will play a critical role in accelerating our focus on how we impact women and the communities that we operate in. We are particularly happy to have Kenya as one of the beneficiary countries in phase 1, as it will enable us build on the previous milestones from our 5by20 programme (empower 5 million women by 2020 worldwide) where we were able to economically empower up to 800,000 women in Kenya alone, and 2 million Africa-wide in a span of 5 years. Women empowerment remains one of our key pillars in driving the sustainability agenda and we are keen to bring on board more initiatives that deliver the desired positive impact in the lives of women in Kenya and Africa,” said Debra Mallowah, Vice President, East and Central Africa Franchise.
The program dubbed “JAMII Femmes” seeks innovative solutions for Africa to improve the quality of life for thousands of people. It will allow participants to receive support through online training, networking, mentorship and local bootcamps.
7,000 impactful women entrepreneurs will be selected to take part in an online training programme from August to November 2022. The sessions will be conducted by WIA’s knowledge partner while Africa’s largest network of private higher education institutions, Honoris United Universities, will equip the women to take a principled approach to design creative ideas, and gain knowledge on leadership and managerial skills.
From this pool of women, more than 600 entrepreneurs will receive grants to support their business development and increase their impact on communities. In January 2023, 70 selected beneficiaries will benefit from a 2-week accelerator programme. They will receive a comprehensive support package as well as mentoring sessions with experts. At the end of the programme, one laureate from each country will receive a $10,000 prize to support their project.
“The initiative will boost business creation opportunities by improving access to vocational training, networks, finance and markets. By addressing the key gaps faced by women entrepreneurs in Africa at such a large scale, this programme is a game-changer for the continent,” stated Patricia Obozuwa, Vice President for Public Affairs, Communication and Sustainability at Coca-Cola Africa,
For more than a decade, The Coca-Cola Foundation has supported programs across the world empowering women to thrive.
“We are committed to preparing women for professional jobs or to launch and grow their own businesses. The “JAMII Femmes” initiative will have profound impact throughout the continent of Africa by supporting women through education, financial literacy, entrepreneurial training, and mentorship. It addresses those known barriers preventing women entrepreneurs from succeeding in the marketplace,” said Saadia Madsbjerg, President of The Coca-Cola Foundation.
The roll out in Kenya will include a call for applications/proposals from interested participants in the next few days, to run through the month of May. Ms Mallowah, under whose East & Central Africa Franchise Kenya falls, added: “Our interest is to see as many Kenyan entrepreneurs selected to participate in this transformational programme. I therefore urge women entrepreneurs out there to respond positively for maximum benefit for Kenya.”
“We will also be informing you in the next couple of weeks, of an ongoing process to appoint a guiding advisory board of inspirational Kenyan women leaders to steer this programme effectively, together lets make it happen,” she further disclosed.