By: Harshi Hettige, Women Deliver
Goldman Sachs and the Acumen Fund partnered together last month to provide a workshop for rising women entrepreneurs. The two corporations collaborate annually – bringing together female leaders in varying industries (from biotech to floristry to financial services) from the emerging markets of India and Kenya. This year’s workshop presented an opportunity to empower these innovators, establish connections, and offer a network of support to create positive global impact. Although each participant had unique backgrounds and career paths, the women shared a drive and a passionate commitment to their roles.
The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative trains 10,000 underserved women who run small and medium-sized enterprises in high-quality business and management skills. Among its aims is to support stronger healthcare. A study by the International Center for Research on Women found that, “Nearly 100 percent of graduates interviewed expressed that 10,000 Women had strengthened their business skills and helped improve performance.”
The Acumen Global Fellows program pulls together and trains a group of future social sector leaders. With world-class tools and in-depth experience, the fellows are encouraged to use their skills and innovation to create solutions to global poverty.
Together, Acumen and Goldman Sachs encourage and train the leaders to build an open community, with room for discussion and growth. The entrepreneurs from the two programs learned tactical management and negotiation skills, reflected on the personal traits that add value to their roles, and shared the challenges that they have learned to overcome.
These women have traversed the rocky slope of business in ever-changing economies, while sustaining their values, and adapting quickly to different needs. A participating Acumen fellow described how, “Jeyalakshmi, founder of Universe Power Systems, proudly spoke about being the only female partner in the Emerson Power Network and the awards she’s received as recognition of her accomplishments. Others chimed in as she recounted the personal and professional difficulties of starting her own business in a culture dominated by male entrepreneurs.”
Discussions brought out other similarities between the innovators. Each strives to find a balance, “between growth and sustainability; family and work; being an entrepreneur and a colleague; external expectations and personal aspirations; societal acceptance and internal satisfaction; all challenges and opportunities that these pioneers deal with on a daily basis.” The workshop highlighted how much these entrepreneurs have in common and therefore the support that they could provide to one another as women and leaders.
Acumen fellow, Neha Kale, reflects that “Initiatives like 10,000 Women and the Global Fellows program foster these important connections to develop essential and supportive communities that empower members to create positive change in the world.”
Flickr photograph via Acumen Fund.