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Women entrepreneurs in Côte d’Ivoire, on the south-eastern coast of West Africa, can now apply to join DigiFemmes Entrepreneurs, a technical assistance programme empowering them to run and grow successful businesses.
DigiFemmes Entrepreneurs is part of the DigiFemmes programme which supports existing women-led small and medium enterprises (W-SMEs) in their growth journeys, creating a robust pipeline of new businesses, and working with ecosystem stakeholders to build a supportive environment for digital skills in Côte d’Ivoire.
DigiFemmes is said to combines an innovative, yet proven pedagogical approach to skills training with a built-in sustainability mechanism to ensure that the programme is impactful, scalable, and sustainable.
The model follows a systems-thinking approach and works with existing W-SMEs on addressing the data and digital skills needed to grow their businesses. Helping new W-SMEs gain digital skills to launch and validate their businesses or increase their employability, the programme is also supported by a supportive ecosystem of stakeholders such as governments, investors, and entrepreneurship support organisations.
DigiFemmes aims to create a more supportive environment for skill development in female founders. It is implemented by consortium partners SAFEEM, Seedstars Côte d’Ivoire, Empow’Her Côte d’Ivoire, Dalberg, and Edu01. The program is funded by the US Government’s USAID and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), in partnership with Microsoft.
“We are thrilled to partner with the SAFEEM consortium to implement a programme that combines multiple MCC priorities,” said Kat Ntep, MCC’s deputy director for sector operations.
“A focus on enabling digital development from the ground up, and the economic empowerment and inclusion of women. We hope this programme will increase the number of women role models that girls will have to look up to and aspire to be – and we are grateful to our partners, USAID and Microsoft, who are providing important resources and contributions to the DigiFemmes programme.”
Yacine Barro-Bourgault, Microsoft Africa Transformation Office’s Skilling and Enablement Lead, shared, “We are excited to partner with USAID, MCC, and the SAFEEM consortium to deliver the DigiFemmes programme. This endeavour aligns with Microsoft Africa Transformation Office’s goal of investing in Africa’s digital transformation through the skilling of 30 million Africans.
“Together with our partners, we hope to provide young women and girls with the tools and resources they need through this strategic partnership, as we work towards bridging the skills gap on the continent.”
Women taking part in the DigiFemmes Entrepreneurs programme will go through a nine-month training through which they will be equipped with data and digital skills for their businesses as well as provided with access to entrepreneurial capacity-building programs that can take them to the next level of maturity.
Participants must be women from Côte d’Ivoire who are dedicated to fully completing the intensive capacity building.
The programme will primarily take place in Abidjan and San Pedro. In addition to these, light-touch training will be delivered to 720 existing women SMEs, and awareness-raising sessions will be available to ecosystem enablers in Yamoussoukro, Bouaké, Daloa, and Gagnoa.