Whilst entrepreneurship in general is booming and creating jobs, it is still a concept out of reach for many women. To develop their entrepreneurial potential, the Empow’Her association created and managed by Soazig Barthélémy has developed a support framework which it applies worldwide.
Supporting female entrepreneurship and empowerment
Started by Soazig Barthélémy whilst she was studying, the Empow’Her association supports and accompanies women who want to launch an entrepreneurial project in France or worldwide. Soazig Barthélémy left her job in infrastructure project financing to focus on developing Empow’Her. Empow’Her now operates in ten countries, with offices in France, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger and Burkina Faso. The association employs around twenty people and has supported 2,500 people, including 1,400 in 2018.
Empow’Her’s goal is to provide personalised support to women in two areas: technical and methodological support, and work on their empowerment. The NGO wants women to retain complete freedom over their business decisions. To ensure they are willing and to make sure there is a high attendance rate, Empow’Her asks for a modest financial contribution to ensure those involved are fully committed.
Development in Côte d’Ivoire and internationally with the support of Societe Generale
The SPARK programme, launched in Côte d’Ivoire two years ago with the support of the Societe Generale Foundation, encourages women to consider entrepreneurship, particularly in rural areas. Societe Generale employees at the Abidjan offices offer their advice and experience to participants, so they can avoid common pitfalls in the first few years.
Empow’Her aims to support 5,000 women in 2019. To reach this objective, the association wants to identify new ways of getting information to women who are normally distanced from support systems, mainly in rural areas or high-priority neighbourhoods. Empow’Her plans to create a network of trainers in Côte d’Ivoire and Niger and to replicate its model and expertise in new countries.