This project aims to strengthen businesses owned or led by women and is funded by IDB Lab and WeFi. WE3A is present in 6 countries in the Region, being the executing entity by Thunderbird School of Global Management, from Arizona State University, who has also developed first class content exclusively for this project. Locally, the two entities in charge of bringing this opportunity to women entrepreneurs and businesswomen in El Salvador are Voces Vitales El Salvador and the Cámara de Comercio e Industria de El Salvador, in a joint and coordinated manner.
The objective of the project, named "WE3A" because of its three components (Aspire, Activate and Accelerate), is to strengthen small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) owned or managed by women (SMEs of, or led by, women). It does this by combining high-quality business training delivered through a variety of innovative digital media with the integration of women into value chains. This investment by IDB Lab and WeFi has not only enabled the development of new and specific content for women in the region, but also subsidizes all participants so that they can participate in the project at no financial cost to them, recognizing the value of the businesswomen's and entrepreneurs' time, which they dedicate to training during the course.
The name WE3A is derived from the acronym WE (Women Entrepreneurs-Mujeres Emprendedoras) and from the three pillars of collaboration around which it is built: women entrepreneurs who Aspire, Activate and Accelerate.
In El Salvador, the program was launched in june 2022 and has more than 600 participants enrolled from the 14 departments of the country, which is possible thanks to the virtual modality. To date, 185 participants have graduated, of which around 100 attended the graduation ceremony. There are plans to hold more graduation events to recognize the efforts of the participants who are completing their training in the program.
Within the ACTIVAR component, the participants had access to 3 courses and a webinar. The courses are conducted through a platform called Dreambuilder, managed by Thunderbird School of Global Management, which allows participants to access at any time and follow the content in an interactive and practical way. In addition, the women were supported by virtual and, in some cases, face-to-face mentoring sessions.
The participants had to develop the following content:
- The first of the courses is "Dreambuilder", which allows you to learn 12 online business steps that cover the basics of starting a business such as finance, marketing, accounting, among others.
- The second course, called "Financing your dream", provides tools to prepare entrepreneurs to manage the finances of their business and manage their capital needs for the development of their business.
- And the last course, "Value Chains", aims to understand how the commercial dynamics work with different types of customers, what changes the entrepreneur should make in her business to successfully sell to other businesses and become part of a value chain.
As an important part of the program's learning, in order to graduate from the project, participants also received a webinar on "Resilience in Business", material provided by Thunderbird School of Global Management.
Here they learned keys and attributes for resilience in this new era of accelerated change. Practical tips, strategies, common mistakes and discussion on the future of resilience. The goal is for their businesses to endure and be successful over time. In addition, during the program participants had access to a series of workshops on topics such as "Overcoming the Impostor Syndrome", "Sales and Marketing", "Developing New Leadership Ideas", "From Founder to CEO", among others.
The program supports women who have a business idea, women who have businesses in different stages, to companies that are already up and running. In the impact surveys, participants indicate that they have learned to improve the value proposition and have gained more confidence, learned to build their own business plan and have been strengthened in logistics, planning, marketing strategies, among other aspects.
"The program has allowed me to learn the tools to build my dream of setting up my accounting services business. I am currently applying them in marketing and sales. The program has guided me on the path to where I want to go", said Martha Luz de Sevillano, a WE3A graduate.
All of these courses were created with specific objectives to meet the greater goal of strengthening women-led businesses by promoting more opportunities through gender-sensitive investment and providing training to increase their business competitiveness.
Translated by: A.M