Women in the Vital Voices Global Leadership Network run successful businesses in a range of industries, including IT, hospitality, manufacturing, and public relations. Many women aspire to take their enterprises to the next level, but they face many obstacles when it comes to successfully expanding their businesses. How can they gain the technical and managerial skills necessary to scale their work?
That is where our VV GROW Fellowship comes in. This innovative, year-long fellowship goes beyond just business training to support women leaders who are ready to GROW their business.
Through 15 weeks of online training, intensive in-person training and tailored support services, women leverage vital business skills and knowledge to expand their business. Our fellowship is not a one-time intervention. Through follow-on services such as mentoring and one-on-one training from business experts, women who participate in the VV GROW Fellowship have access to personalized business assistance that helps them take the actions necessary to reach their goals.
Today we congratulate our first class of fellows who graduate with new knowledge, skills and access to better networks. For many of the women, completing this fellowship was a crucial milestone on their paths to business expansion and personal leadership.
In fact, 97 percent said they implemented successful changes in their operations because of their participation in the program.
Meet three fellows from this year’s class:
Juliana Imoowo, Managing Director, Sumptuous Meals Ltd, Nigeria.
“I was fortunate to become a VV GROW fellow at critical turning point in my career as managing director of Sumptuous Meals, the fastest growing catering and boxed meal service in Africa. We had just begun putting our restaurants in malls and we needed strategy and direction in order to sustain the exponential growth that we were experiencing.
This fellowship has been reflective, informative, inspiring, challenging and intriguing all at once. It was an investment in me that I am truly grateful for. All of the targets that I had established in my action plan were met within the year. We are even going beyond what we had considered to be huge milestones. And now I say to the world ‘Watch out!’ because Sumptuous is coming soon to a city near you.”
Hadjer Yala, Founder, Tech Offshore International, Algeria
“I never would have imagined that losing my job as a software developer would unlock my potential as a female business owner. Despite a lack of business management experience, I started Tech OffShore International at the encouragement of former clients who wanted to continue to work with me.
My business was financially stable at the time I learned about the VV GROW Fellowship, but I knew there was more I could do to foster business growth and attract a wider international audience. As a fellow, I learned how to shift to a more strategic and goal-oriented business management style that would allow me to forge new business partnerships. I now encourage other women entering my field to be organized and ambitious and they are bound to find success as I have.”
Diana Figueroa, Co-owner and Brand Manager, Peludos, El Salvador
“My sister and I applied to the VV GROW Fellowship because we had reached a tipping point where it was time to reflect and think strategically about where to take the business next. Peludos had grown from a two-person pet health care center to a 10-person all-in-one store for pet owners with veterinary experts, groomers, pets and pet accessories. Our expertise has made us a partner of choice for wholesale distribution of pet accessories in El Salvador.
The virtual training helped us to start thinking about ourselves as leaders and strategically about our business. The in-person training guided me from the current mapping of my company to draw the new and improved business route for the future. When I came back to El Salvador I brought so many ideas, big ideas! We are big dreamers and we are refining our services, laying the foundations to expand with new products and new locations.”
These business leaders are accelerating economic growth and improving conditions in their communities. We look forward to watching their businesses expand as they put their action plans in to place and set new goals for growth in sales and employment.
Follow our blog for more success stories from businesswomen and entrepreneurs in the coming months.