Since 2017, the AWOME programme, which has been renamed EntreprenHER, has supported almost 2,500 women entrepreneurs of micro-enterprises in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa to grow and formalise their businesses, create more jobs and generate more secure incomes.
Dignitaries at the event included Her Excellency Neo Jane Masisi, First Lady of the Republic of Botswana; Minister of Youth, Gender, Sports, Arts and Culture in Botswana, Honourable Tumiso Rakgare; Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Honourable Anna Maria Mokgethi; Deputy Minister of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, Republic of Namibia, Honourable Bennadette Jagger; UN Women Representative, South Africa Multi-Country Office, Aleta Miller; the UN Botswana Resident Coordinator, Zia Choudhury; De Beers Group Vice President Corporate Affairs Ms. Otsile Mabeo and Chairperson of the National Gender Commission, Mrs Joy Phumaphi.
The next phase of the programme will support an additional 1,500 women entrepreneurs across the three countries through capacity building in areas covering business and life skills, networking and mentoring. Building on learnings to date, the programme will now include a greater focus on digital literacy and will also introduce small grants and loans for eligible businesses, as access to finance was ranked a key barrier to growth by past participants.
In Botswana and Namibia, the EntreprenHER programme is delivered in collaboration with each country’s gender ministries. Namibia’s First Lady, Monica Geingos, has praised the programme for its ability to empower grassroots women entrepreneurs.