Created in 2008, the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women (CBFW) helps women around the world overcome socio-economic challenges and empower them to play an important role in their local economies and societies.
The ultimate purpose of the programme is to train and coach women entrepreneurs to build profitable, sustainable businesses which are market-oriented, scalable and which facilitate job creation.
Specifically the programme will support 200 women entrepreneurs living in Ramallah, Bethlehem and Hebron to scale up their small women-owned businesses over three years. In this environment women are increasingly called upon to support their families financially. Yet, like in other countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, they face enormous social, legal and religious restrictions that hinder their ability to find employment outside of the home or create their own business ventures.
Women's participation in the labour force has been below 16 per cent for the last decade. The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women seeks to turn this number around. Through partnerships, CBFW aims to strengthen the skills of 200 women by providing continued intensive training and coaching for 100 top performers in this group and support 60 of these women to receive one-on-one business incubation services to really accelerate their business growth. The project will also connect women to local financial institutions to facilitate access to capital and financial training.
The Trafigura Foundation will provide not just funding, but business insights that will enable these entrepreneurs to grow and thrive, to ultimately becoming agents of change in their community.
Commenting on the collaboration, Laura Stebbing, Fundraising and Partnerships Director, spoke of how these Palestinian businesswomen represent a vital 'missing middle' of women entrepreneurs: "This new initiative focuses on the southern West Bank and an underappreciated economic strata of women entrepreneurs. These Palestinian women possess the desire to expand their businesses, but due to their remote location, restricted mobility and socio-cultural barriers, lack the opportunities to access tailored business training, markets and capital, as well as build much-needed assets."
“By supporting the Advancing Women’s Businesses programme, the Trafigura Foundation can bring appropriate business insights so these women can act as drivers of development, creating jobs and revitalising their economies.”