08/29/2012 YTF Launches Women Entrepreneurs & Mobile Technology Program
In efforts to create sustainable livelihoods for communities as a whole Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF) launched the Women Entrepreneurs and Mobile Technology program in partnership with U.K. based Cherie Blair Foundation for Women. The program will address the business challenges of women entrepreneurs in Nigeria with a special emphasis on women in the Niger Delta region. YTF will provide technology and capacity building training for 2,000 women in the "missing middle" – those whose businesses are too large to qualify for micro-finance but too small to qualify for commercial loans.
The Women Entrepreneurs and Mobile Technology program will empower women to expand and grow their businesses using mobile Value Added Services (VAS), such as access to market data, digital channels and essential business tools. YTF knows that amazing things happen when women become agents of their own economic power and it is "smart economics" to develop programs that not only empower young people, but also their mothers.
"This is the first tool of this kind for women entrepreneurs in Nigeria and YTF looks forward to implementing and reporting on the impact it is making not just for women, but also for the families that they support," said Njideka Harry, YTF's Founder and CEO.
YTF will develop and deliver training modules, which will include classroom and online instruction, industry tours and "Power Hours." Classroom training will be a combination of workshops, case studies, guest speakers and practical assignments. Participants will tour an industry diverse group of successful woman-owned businesses to share best practices and challenges. The "Power Hour" will facilitate peer learning between the women, allowing the participants to share knowledge, skills, and experiences and to build critical networks to sustain a successful business. To continue a culture of learning and support, women will use an e-Mentoring platform to share best practices and learn from other successful women entrepreneurs.
In Nigeria, as in many other developing countries, mobile phones empower women digitally and serve as one of the most exciting examples we have of the transformational benefits of technology today. Mobile phones will be used to help women increase their customer base, gain access to capital and deepen their supplier relationships. Leveraging a technology partnership with a Nokia service, called Business Women, weekly text messages will be sent to participants delivering information and best practices around characteristics and competencies of a successful women entrepreneur.
YTF is honored to have been selected by the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women to implement the Women Entrepreneurs and Mobile Technology program.