It’s a great pleasure for us to have Women Enabled Enterprises (WEE) renewing as an E-Suite Affiliate for the third year, and we want to take this opportunity to highlight the amazing work they do in Africa. Mpho Hansjee is the Founder and CEO of Women Enabled Enterprises, a non-profit organization working with women in South Africa, that helps low-income, high-potential women start or grow a small business for self-sufficiency.
“We are a non-profit organization that breaks barriers to access for South African women of color seeking to flourish or embark on an entrepreneurial journey.” – Mpho
EMPOWER A WOMAN, UPLIFT A COMMUNITY
Mpho founded Women Enabled Enterprises with the aim of solving one of the biggest issues in her country: unemployment. South Africa has the highest unemployment rate in the world, with a 35% rate of unemployment, and women aged 15 to 34 contributed 60% of this number.
As an organization, WEE is really committed to solving this problem. They know that when women have no agency over their lives they aren’t able to take care of the kids. This affects childhood nutrition, education, and so many different other areas. WEE helps women artisans by developing their business skills so that they have an opportunity to create employment for themselves and others out of their skill set.
“We also are very well-known, unfortunately, for gender-based violence in Southern Africa and while our organization doesn’t directly contribute to helping that area, what we know is that when women have more of their own money, they’re able to leave relationships that are no longer safe for them.” – Mpho
TOGETHER SINCE THE BEGINNING
Women Enabled Enterprises was founded in 2019 in South Africa, and referred to Centro by Julie Abrams. WEE started running its programs 2020, and since the beginning, they trusted Centro’s methodology and incorporated it together with the Centro Business Planning App into their 12-week program.
The phone accessibility for running the programs was one of the most important things for WEE when we started our partnership, as most of the women we work with in South Africa don’t have a laptop. “When we tested the Centro App with our first group, everything went smoothly, and everyone was able to download the app and set it up. Our goal was to have every single entrepreneur on the app and be able to use it with ease within the first three weeks. However, within the first two weeks, we were able to have everyone on board!.” 90% of the women they work with only have mobile phones, so when they get on Zoom everything they do has to be very mobile phone friendly.
When WEE first started, its main organizational goal was to serve 100 women in a year, and it wanted to run 4 quarters, serving 25 women in each. They launched their first program in 2019 with 15 applicants in the first cohort, 25 in the second, and 70 in the third. After that they stabilized to an average of 30 to 40 women in each group. Now they have decided instead of doing 4 programs in a year, they will do 2 but will have bigger groups. “I’m so proud to say this but we’re almost at 200 for the fall quarter on and it’s the biggest group we’ve had actually.” – Mpho
OVERCOMING BARRIERS WITH TECHNOLOGY
This year, Women Enabled Enterprises expanded its virtual programs to other African countries like Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Senegal, and Uganda. All programs are online and they combine the activities from the Centro Business Planning App. It also invites guest speakers from the US and from different countries in Africa.
“The app made the process of building a business plan less daunting. I like how it broke down each section into manageable, bite-sized pieces. It was more enjoyable than it was overwhelming to make one. The functionality of being able to export it out as different files for future use was also an added bonus.” – Kagiso, Entrepreneur from WEE.
One of WEE biggest successes is that they’ve been able to transcend its own capabilities and its own reach. Every time they serve a woman, one-third of them employ two people in their community. “That’s a powerful result because one person creates their own job, and creates capacity in their life and in their business to employ other people. And the same thing about the children of the women we serve, and how different the children’s lives will be now that their mom is on their feet. The children will have better education, they’ll be able to eat wholesome food, and they’ll be able to have books for school and shoes. Those to me make everything worth it.” – Mpho
MEETING ENTREPRENEURS WHERE THEY’RE AT
“Our partnership with Centro has been so incredibly beneficial because what Centro provides is exactly what our beneficiaries need and what our organization needs. What I love the most is that Centro meets the women we serve right where they’re at. They have opportunities to make the app in a different language. Centro is open to creating accessibility. They are central to where we find our entrepreneurs, which is on a mobile phone. We can’t thank Centro enough because they have been with us since we started, and they are still with us. They have been such responsive partners to feedback and they’ve made us better. We wouldn’t have been able to have the success we created without Centro” – Mpho.
You can learn more about Women Enabled Enterprises, their mission, and their impact by watching this video.
If you want to learn more about how we can also help your organization, please contact us at email@example.com. We are also happy to answer any questions about our current curriculum, learning and teaching tools, and the support we provide to organizations!