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As we wrap up the in-person training portion of the VV GROW Fellowship, we are so honored to be able to provide such a life changing experience for women business owners around the globe. As one fellow wrote, “I’m surrounded by women that are a source of inspiration, guidance, love, knowledge, and experience. And what is more amazing is that I can call them my sisters.” The in-person training not only offers women the expertise and knowledge of how to grow their business, it gives them the opportunity to connect with each other in a way that they would have never been able to achieve without the VV GROW Fellowship.

With support from the ExxonMobil Foundation, the Founding Global Partner, and FedEx , Platinum Sponsor, 65 amazing women business owners from across Latin America and the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa participated in the VV GROW Fellowship began this past June. The fellows have spent months working on building skills and knowledge to support their long term business and leadership growth through the online learning stage of the fellowship. By engaging with critical topics ranging from financial management to leadership, VV GROW fellows have gained a deeper understanding of the current state of their business and identified strategic opportunities for growth.

Building upon this, in October Vital Voices  and VV GROW fellows travelled to  three regional in-person training workshops to transition from an understanding of the possibilities for growth to developing an actionable plan to achieve that growth. Held in Mexico City, Cape Town, and Amman, this critical stage of the fellowship brought fellows from each region together to learn and form connections across their region. Through the four days of intensive training, fellows refined their growth strategies and developed an action plan to guide them for the next several years.

VV GROW fellows from Jamaica shared their thoughts about the unique value of gathering with other women business owners “…we are going through the same things, we’re facing the same challenges, and seeing so many examples of women who are doing it…and that for me was a big takeaway because it inspired me to believe at another level of what is possible.”

Now fellows will move on to the final stage of the VV GROW Fellowship: Growth Services and Support. Over the next six months, fellows will begin to implement their plans for business growth. As no two businesses are the same, the challenges and opportunities business owners face in growing their businesses are also unique. During the Growth Services and Support stage of the fellowship, fellows will receive individualized connections to technical support, coaching and other services to help them achieve the goals in their plans.

Through the first three years of the VV GROW Fellowship, Vital Voices has seen the immense impact that businesswomen can have on their communities. VV GROW fellows create jobs and contribute to growing prosperity in their communities. They also are role models and they pay forward the investment made in them. We look forward to continuing to work with these businesswomen through the remainder of their fellowship. We look forward to seeing what great things the future holds for them as they create prosperity and positively impact their communities.

Founding global partner:

ExxonMobil Foundation: The ExxonMobil Foundation is the primary philanthropic arm of Exxon Mobil Corporation in the United States, providing funding globally to improve basic education, promote women as catalysts for development and combat malaria in developing countries.

Platinum sponsor:

FedEx: FedEx is dedicated to transforming lives and economies around the world and in the communities where employees live and the company operates. The company is committed to investing $200 million in more than 200 communities by 2020 through collaborations with trusted NGOs and nonprofit organizations around the world.