Cherie Blair Foundation And Unruly Celebrate Female Entrepreneurs At Women In Tech Panel

Unruly opened its doors to the Cherie Blair Foundation For Women last night, emphasising their work helping women worldwide develop vital business skills.

The foundation released its annual report on Wednesday, which outlined the great work it does in countries like Rwanda and Lebanon and stressed the power of technology as a tool for entrepreneurs.

The panel was moderated by Sarah Drinkwater, Head of Google’s London Campus, and featured Unruly co-CEO Sarah Wood, alongside Cherie Blair and MADE.com co-founder Chloe Macintosh.

The panel members started by outlining some of the systemic problems that keep women out of the tech industry, raising the fact that they only make up 13% of the overall UK STEM workforce. Sarah also discussed the ‘funding gap’, citing that men are 86% more likely to get VC funding than women and only 3% of venture capital invested between 2011-2013 went to women-led startups, according to Merian Ventures.

When discussing how to help women develop the skills and confidence to start their own businesses, Cherie talked through her foundation’s work in different volatile regions. She told the moving story of Claudette, a woman from Rwanda who received enterprise development and financial literacy training which transformed her local business, leading her to start
selling manure wholesale to traders and farmers.

The panel also briefly touched on the importance of support networks, with Chloe explaining that “mentoring is a mutual process” and that she learns most from the youngest members of her team.

The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women supports women entrepreneurs in developing and emerging economies to develop their confidence, capability and access to capital. They also undertake advocacy on a global level to broaden the scope for female entrepreneurs in developing and emerging markets.

Since launching their programmes in 2009 they have reached more than 125,000 women across over 80 countries, training 14,000 female entrepreneurs in the last year, and have published ground-breaking research on mobile technology for business growth.