Economic Empowerment

VV GROW | Fellowship


Why did Vital Voices create the VV GROW Fellowship?

There are an estimated 12 million women owned small-and medium-businesses around the world, 7 million of which are located in developing countries. These businesses and the women who lead them have the potential to be a powerful force for building prosperity through GDP growth and job creation. While the potential for economic contributions are significant, women business owners face challenges in accessing the support services they need to grow, such as access to networks, training, financing and markets. With generous support from the ExxonMobil Foundation, Vital Voices created the VV GROW Fellowship, the only accelerator of its kind to partner with women business leaders to address their key obstacles to growth and to enhance their leadership impact. 

What is the VV GROW Fellowship?

The Vital Voices GROW Fellowship is a highly competitive one-year accelerator program for women owners of small- and medium-sized businesses. The program includes customized business skills training, technical assistance, leadership development, and access to networks to grow their business and increase their leadership impact. Through global and regional online and in-person interventions, fellows focus on strategy and long-term business value paired with action-oriented plans. They amplify their role as leaders in their businesses and their communities to ultimately create jobs, stimulate long-term economic growth and produce wider social benefits.

Who participates in the VV GROW Fellowship?

The VV GROW Fellowship works with women that have owned and operated their businesses for at least three years, employ a minimum of three full-time employees, generate an annual revenue of no less than $40,000, have demonstrated leadership within their community and have authority to make critical decisions within their businesses. Fellows are driven to build skills and make changes to grow their businesses. They are also committed to “paying forward” the investment Vital Voices makes in them through a variety of means, such as through taking their knowledge, skills and expertise and sharing it with others, increasing the number and influence of women role models in their businesses and communities.

What results has Vital Voices seen so far?

  • 65% of fellows experienced positive growth in yearly sales during the fellowship period. Fellows also saw a 9% growth in the number of full time and part time employees.
  • 97% of fellows made connections they believed were going to be useful in growing their business, including with business owners and technical experts, demonstrating the value of business networks in achieving growth goals
  • Through pay it forward activities, fellows trained 965 people and mentored 718 people, taking the investment made in them and multiplying it across their communities, further increasing their leadership impact. 
  • 99% of the fellows made changes to improve productivity in their business, such as creating or implementing a strategic growth plan, developing or modifying a product, improving financial record keeping, marketing and communications, and improving costing or pricing processes.

Who are the partners for the VV GROW Fellowship?

The VV GROW Fellowship would not be possible without the generous support of our global, regional and local partners. For the past 10 years Vital Voices has been supporting the growth and leadership development of women business owners throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa in partnership with the founding global partner of the VV GROW Fellowship, the ExxonMobil Foundation. The VV GROW Fellowship is also supported by Platinum Sponsor FedEx. To learn more about the many partners who provide support for the VV GROW Fellowship, please visit:



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