Empow'Her: communities of women entrepreneurs working to change the world

Although 82% of women have considered becoming entrepreneurs, far fewer have actually done so. Empow'Her helps women make their first steps towards entrepreneurship. Read on to find out more about Women Communities in Burkina Faso, a programme supported by the Societe Generale Corporate Foundation.


For Aminata*, joining the Empow'Her programme in Burkina Faso was in some ways her last hope. After a long period of unemployment, she was at a loss and had lost all confidence in herself. "I felt completely useless," she said. As she was beginning to despair, Aminata heard about a programme called Women Communities organised by the non-profit Empow'Her, so she contacted the representative in Ouagadougou.

Aminata began to attend group training courses that helped her bring her project to life and taught her about the key concepts of entrepreneurship. She took part in individual coaching sessions where experts and coaches provided her with friendly advice. And finally, she attended a Bootcamp, where participants meet to work intensively on their projects. For the first time, Aminata began to see that she could be an entrepreneur. She found new confidence in her ability to make something of her life.

With renewed vitality, she began to imagine setting up a centre to help other young women like her who need to gain confidence in themselves and train for a profession. Her plan was to help women become financially and socially independent – something she had wanted for herself for so long.

Empow'Her and Women Communities

"Empow'Her supports women entrepreneurs so they can change the world,” says the organisation on its website.  Created in 2013, this international network of organisations promotes more inclusive entrepreneurship as a source of women's development and a catalyst for change. The Women Communities programme that Aminata followed was set up in 2018. The Societe Generale Corporate Foundation immediately backed the programme. "This project was inspired by a desire to provide quality support tailored to the needs of women in urban, suburban and even rural areas," explained Margaux Teuliere, Head of Programmes and Development in Africa at Empow'Her.The programme was first launched in three, then six, cities in Côte d'Ivoire, before being extended to five cities in Burkina Faso last year

The programme has evolved a lot since its creation because we go out and meet women so we can understand their needs and expectations. We then adapt our content and teaching methods each time.

Margaux Teuliere, Head of Programmes and Development in Africa at Empow'Her

The impact of the communities

Empow'Her cultivates a healthy obsession with the impact of participants' work. It has developed a methodology to measure the short and medium term impact in terms of the beneficiaries' mindset and leadership, the development of their activities, and the broader impact on the community. But some impacts are harder to quantify, for example the sisterhood and solidarity that forms between the young women.

"We realised that they were supporting each other in areas that had nothing to do with entrepreneurship," said Koudoussou Adéchina Laourou, Project Manager for Empow'Her in Burkina Faso. "Last week, the women were helping each other because one of them was getting married. In Bobo Dioulasso, several women have joined forces to share the costs of renting business premises. A real network has formed – they support each other and share opportunities. These communities now exist both physically and online in cities that have access to the internet."




*Her name has been changed for reasons of anonymity.

Copyrights : Empow'Her