Women in the 'missing middle' - as founders of small businesses - are the drivers of development.
Last month, Cherie attended a Q & A session with students and staff from Christ the King Sixth Form College's Enterprise Graduate Programme. The event called 'In Conversation with Cherie Blair' offered three female EGP students the unique opportunity to ask Cherie about her life, charity work, human rights and the role of women in business.
The event, which was held at the British Library, was organised by TiE UK, the world's largest not-for-profit entrepreneur's network. TiE's main priority is their Mentoring Programme which employs Charter Members to share their knowledge and experience with the next generation of entrepreneurs. Stuart Nicol, TiE UK Co-President said:
We're grateful to Cherie Blair for sharing the vision and activities of her Foundation with us and hope that the networks and know-how that TiE has developed over the years can help her to better assist women entrepreneurs in growing their businesses.
In an informal Q&A session, Cherie spoke about her Foundation's charity work. She also discussed the significant contribution of women entrepreneurs in filling the gap in the global economy and the necessity for increased empowerment of women around the world. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development proved that women tend to invest ninety per cent of their income back into their families and yet women find it harder to obtain investment grants or purchase land as well as struggling to get good advice or commercial support.
At the event, Cherie explained her reasons for setting up her Foundation after meeting women around the world. She realised that the women she had met could overcome their challenges and play an important role in strengthening their societies:
Women in the 'missing middle' - as founders of small businesses - are the drivers of development. Giving women the chance to contribute to their economies and make the most of their talents is the key to higher living standards and stronger economies. Working in partnership with local organisations, my foundation aims to provide practical support for women who are ready to take the next step towards becoming entrepreneurs or who want to grow their small businesses. Mentoring is crucial to all business success and so we are encouraging women who have already succeeded to share their experience with others. The objective is to create a global community of women entrepreneurs.
Dawn Dowdie, Employer Engagement Officer at Christ the King, said:
It was interesting to hear what Cherie Blair had to say about getting ahead in quite a male dominated field and how she balances this with her role as a mother. Our students were impressed that she came over and had a conversation with us, so it really was a Conversation with Cherie Blair.
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