DigiFemmes, a holistic technical assistance program that enhances the capacity of women in Côte d’Ivoire to run and grow successful businesses has announced that the first DigiFemmes cohort will take place in September 2022.
The program supports existing women-led small and medium enterprises (W-SMEs) in their growth journeys, creates a robust pipeline of new W-SMEs, and works with ecosystem stakeholders to build a supportive environment for digital skills in Côte d’Ivoire.
“We are thrilled to partner with the SAFEEM consortium to implement a program that combines multiple MCC priorities: A focus on enabling digital development from the ground up, and the economic empowerment and inclusion of women,” said Kat Ntep, MCC’s Deputy Director for Sector Operations. “We hope this program 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 program.”
To empower women entrepreneurs and help grow their businesses in Côte d’Ivoire, DigiFemmes will help women founders leverage data and digital skills. DigiFemmes combines an innovative, yet proven pedagogical approach to skills training with a built-in sustainability mechanism to ensure that the program 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 program is also supported by a supportive ecosystem of stakeholders such as governments, investors, and entrepreneurship support organizations. DigiFemmes aims to create a more supportive environment for skill development in female founders.
DigiFemmes 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.
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 program. This endeavor aligns with Microsoft Africa Transformation Office’s goal of investing in Africa’s digital transformation through the skilling 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 this program will be offered a choice between two distinct learning paths:
A nine-month track for already existing women entrepreneurs – Entrepreneurs in this track 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.
A two-year program for aspiring women entrepreneurs – Participants will be trained in digital, data, and entrepreneurial skills that will support them in launching and building their own ventures or will help increase their employability. This helps build a new pipeline of W-SMEs and Ivorian women with 21st-century skills, all while simultaneously contributing to the program’s long-term sustainability.
Participants of the program must be women from Côte d’Ivoire who are dedicated to fully completing the intensive capacity building.
The program will take place primarily in Abidjan and San Pedro, and a total of 600 women will be supported through both tracks by the end of the three years period. 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.
To join one of the upcoming cohorts, sign up here and get notified when applications are open: https://seedsta.rs/DigiFemmes.