Third Sector Awards: Digital Innovation of the Year – Cherie Blair Foundation for Women for HerVenture for Women Entrepreneurs

Awarded to a charity or social enterprise that is pushing the boundaries of digital technology to reach supporters, donors or beneficiaries.

Digital Innovation of the Year – Cherie Blair Foundation for Women for HerVenture for Women Entrepreneurs 

What is the aim of the technology?

Mobile learning app HerVenture (HV) provides women entrepreneurs with small and growing businesses in low- and middle-income countries with the knowledge, skills and confidence needed to successfully grow their enterprise.

How does it work?

HV offers essential business training and support “on the go”, featuring eight learning '”tracks” on a range of business topics. The app is free and users can sign up and start learning instantly, wherever they are and at their own pace, making it more accessible than traditional classroom learning.

The app generates personalised learning journeys to meet each entrepreneur's interests. Content is provided in bite-sized, easily digestible formats and can also be accessed offline. The app has a networking function, enabling users to connect with each other and learn about local business events. During the pandemic the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women rapidly developed and rolled out new learning about ecommerce and digital marketing and made HerVenture available for iOS as well as Android.

Designed to be adaptable in different countries and contexts, the app is promoted through in-country partners, who interface directly with women entrepreneurs to ensure they are reached and supported effectively and appropriately.

What did it achieve?

Since the start of the pandemic HerVenture has reached nearly 23,000 women entrepreneurs across Nigeria, Kenya, Indonesia and Vietnam, and will soon launch in South Africa. In Kenya more than 1,200 women used it to achieve growth and protect their businesses against the pandemic. After only a few months of use 38 per cent of users reported an increase in sales, 25 per cent increased their profits and 44 per cent grew their savings, with others optimistic that they would be able to do so post-pandemic.

What did the judges say?

“Solving a clear problem with a clever solution – it is a great concept, delivered to those that need it most.”

Finalists

  • Child Brain Injury Trust for CBIT in Hand – a health intervention for families affected by concussion, head injury and acquired brain injury
  • Football Foundation for PitchPower
  • Royal Voluntary Service for Virtual Village Hall
  • The Sutton Trust for Sutton Trust Online (STO)
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