TechnoServe and The Nike Foundation Expand Young Women’s Entrepreneurship Training Program

Foundation provides funding support and grows entrepreneurial training program for young women in Kenya.

AUGUST 5, 2009 — The Nike Foundation has granted TechnoServe nearly $3 million to maintain and expand its work with young women in Kenya through 2012. The Young Women in Enterprise (YWE) program teaches business and life skills to more than 3,000 adolescent girls and young women, ages 15 to 22, in low-income areas of urban Kenya. It helps them to steer clear of problems such as HIV/AIDS and to thrive by creating the employment-generating, women-owned businesses that can support Kenya’s communities.

The YWE program comprises four components: training on using tools to plan, implement, and manage a small business; links to financing, with an emphasis on the importance of savings; mentorship guided by leading women entrepreneurs, among others; and, mini-business plan competitions, which identify promising business ideas and enable talented entrepreneurs to further advance their businesses.

The program, originally piloted in 2005, has already made a big difference in people’s lives. For example, joining a local YWE club was the impetus 24-year-old Cecilia Katungwa needed to stitch together her entrepreneurial vision of selling knitted goods. She now has a shop that employs two other young women, and she believes that within 10 years she will be running a very successful business with many employees and locations.

The business skills, support network and life skills – such as HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention – obtained through YWE creates new economic opportunities for participants such as Cecilia, helping them avoid the vulnerability that too often leads girls to become child brides or at risk for HIV/AIDS.

“Because of my business, I have choices that help keep me safe and HIV free,” Cecilia says. “And today, I employ other girls from Nairobi’s slums so I can pass on what I learn and keep them HIV free too.”

About TechnoServe: TechnoServe is leading a movement that empowers people in the developing world to build businesses that break the cycle of poverty. Growing enterprises generate jobs and other income opportunities for poor people, enabling them to improve their lives and secure a better future for their families. Since its founding in 1968, the U.S.-based nonprofit has helped to create or expand thousands of businesses, benefiting millions of people in more than 30 countries. The Financial Times has rated TechnoServe one of the top five NGOs for corporate partnerships. Charity Navigator has also awarded its highest Four Star ranking to TechnoServe.

For more information, please contact:
Andrew Eder, Senior Marketing Communications Coordinator, TechnoServe
Tel: +1 (202) 719-1327; Email: