5 ways to help women entrepreneurs around the world

Last week on Small Business Trends, I shared six organizations that help American women and girls improve their business and financial skills so they can find jobs and build businesses. Your dollars can have an even greater impact in developing countries, where women are often denied access to education and other opportunities. Here are five nonprofits that are helping women around the world find financial security for themselves and their families through entrepreneurship.

Ways to support women in business globally

Kula Project

This organization works to eradicate poverty in Rwanda by developing entrepreneurs through its Kula scholarship program. While the scholarship program is open to both men and women, Kula also has two women’s centers specifically designed to provide vocational training for women. The women participate in business training and then learn specific skills to enable them to set up their own sewing, weaving and farming businesses. The women learn to create handicrafts and agro-food products to sell in the local market.

Learn more about the Kula project.

Women for International Women

Women for Women International offers programs that give marginalized women in countries affected by conflict and war a way to earn and save money. During the organization’s year-long social and economic empowerment program, classes of 25 women build support networks, share experiences, and learn critical skills to help them support their families financially. After completing the program, women can access the Graduate Support Program, which encourages ongoing mentorship and provides additional advanced financial and business training. There are many ways to support Women for Women International; for example, for a monthly contribution of $35, you can sponsor a sister and provide ongoing financial support to a particular woman.

Learn more about Women for Women International.

Global Women’s Empowerment Fund

The Women’s Global Empowerment Fund combines microcredit loans with business development and leadership training to help women in northern Uganda support their families. Participants in the organization’s Credit Plus program are required to attend regular meetings and have the option of taking courses in business skills, literacy, health, or leadership development. The ultimate goal: to help women create sustainable incomes, increase their food security and improve the health and nutrition of their families.

Learn more about the Global Women’s Empowerment Fund.

Friendship Bridge

Empowering women in war-torn Guatemala to build a better life is Friendship Bridge’s goal. The organization provides small loans to poor women who have been deemed “unbankable,” giving them the opportunity to start or grow small businesses and begin creating their own sustainable solutions to poverty. Today the Friendship Bridge Microcredit Plus program reaches more than 22,000 women. Borrowers must form groups of 7 to 25 members, called Trust Banks, which co-guarantee the loans of individual members. At monthly meetings of the Trust Banks, the women participate in informal education sessions. Friendship Bridge’s Craft Market Access Program trains artists and artisans to make products that can appeal to the global market. There are many ways to get involved with Friendship Bridge, including donating, volunteering, and organizing fundraising events.

Learn more about the Friendship Bridge.


One of the first socially responsible lending organizations, Kiva funds an average of $2.5 million in loans each week for borrowers in more than 80 countries. The organization helps borrowers around the world who find it difficult to access other sources of fair and affordable credit. In the United States, Kiva funds loans for borrowers who are financially excluded or creating social impact in their communities. Kiva borrowers include farmers, artisans, students, traders, builders, restaurants, etc. Although loans are available to both men and women, 81% of borrowers are women. You can search for women entrepreneurs in need of funding if you want to make sure your contribution will go to a woman.

Learn more about Kiva.

As nations become increasingly intertwined, helping women in developing countries helps us all. And when supporting women entrepreneurs in other countries costs so little, why not incorporate it into your company’s giving plan?

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