Unilever’s soap brand Sunlight has invested in a five-year program to support women in business through various initiatives such as financial literacy training and advertising. The initiatives are targeting over 100,000 women entrepreneurs through the Sunlight Women of More program.
In 2020, Sunlight had partnered with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) to train 50 women in entrepreneurship, innovation and financial literacy. For the second stage, Sunlight plans to strengthen the partnership and join forces with Absa Bank and UNITAR to upscale and training an additional 5 thousand women this year. This is estimated to be a 500% increase from the previous figure.
“Sunlight is committed to helping over 100,000 Kenyan women entrepreneurs to develop their businesses into sustainable and profitable ventures they can be proud of by 2026. We will do this by providing tools and partnership to allow them to become More. We have done this by partnering with UNITAR and Absa Bank,” says Henry Muchauraya, Homecare Director, East Africa, Unilever.
Statistics show that women-owned businesses account for 48% of all MSMEs, which contribute to about 20% of the GDP.
“Women are still faced with many real and perceptual huddles that have tipped the scales against them and made it more difficult to succeed with certain opportunities. As a bank whose purpose is to bring possibilities to life, we are happy to be part of this partnership as it will go a long way in addressing historic challenges that face women entrepreneurs and support them grow,” said Elizabeth Wasunna, Director Business Banking, Absa Bank Kenya.
According to Absa, there is need to empower many women entrepreneurs to register their businesses, formalize their operations and maintain good records of their transactions.
“We are excited to join the Sunlight Women of More program in order to support thousands of women who will now be given the opportunity to reach their full potential. Women need to become leaders and agents of change in their communities and societies, programs such as Sunlight Women of More greatly increase this likelihood,” said Mihoko Kumamoto, Director for Division for Prosperity, UNITAR.
The campaign is anchored on three pillars. These are media, shopper, and education to sustain its promise. This will see the media pillar donate media spaces to support the businesses by creating visibility through Digital, Radio and Out of Home ad spaces such as billboards.
Eligible applicants must own a business that has been in operation for at least one year, be keen to learn and are highly motivated to provide positive impact to the society.
The training will support the development of entrepreneurial knowledge and skills of participants through innovative business solutions through the following.
- Learning the entrepreneurial process of identifying opportunities and mobilizing resources to bring a new enterprise to life.
- Exploring the tools and techniques to create desirable, feasible, viable, and sustainable solutions that solve customer needs and problems.
- Designing a business model appropriate for their enterprise and customer segment(s).
- Developing revenue models to capture value in all its forms and formulate financial projections appropriate for social or commercial enterprises, and
- Applying the types of innovations that lead to competitive advantage and enterprise growth.
An open call to entry will be officially placed on the UNITAR platform from 21st June 2021- 20th July 2021.