Sunlight, a division of Unilever, has started a five-year program to promote women in business through activities like financial literacy training and advertising.
The program is dubbed ‘Sunlight Women of More’ program, and is based on Sunlight’s positive attitude toward women in East Africa. In the first stage of the program, Sunlight teamed with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) to teach 50 women in entrepreneurship, innovation, and financial literacy.
Sunlight intends to strengthen the relationship and join up with Absa Bank Kenya and UNITAR in the second stage to scale up and train an additional 5,000 women this year, a hundred-fold increase.
“Sunlight is committed to helping over 100,000 Kenyan women entrepreneurs to develop their businesses into sustainable and profitable ventures they can be proud of by 2026. We will do this by providing tools and partnerships to allow them to become more. We have done this by partnering with UNITAR and Absa Bank.” Henry Muchauraya, Homecare Director, East Africa, Unilever.
Statistics show that women-owned businesses contribute significantly to the Kenyan economy, accounting for 48% of all micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, which account for almost 20% of the country’s GDP.
According to Elizabeth Wasunna, Director Business Banking, Absa Bank Kenya, women continue to encounter numerous real and perceived barriers that have tipped the scales against them and made it more difficult for women to succeed in certain situations.
Elizabeth added that Absa is pleased to be a part of the ‘Sunlight Women of More’ program since it will go a long way toward overcoming historic hurdles that women entrepreneurs face and supporting their growth. She emphasized Absa’s mission as a bank is to bring potential to reality.
According to the bank, as many women entrepreneurs as possible should be encouraged to register their enterprises, formalize their operations, and keep good records of their transactions. “These are important factors that not only determine entrepreneurs’ ability to attract investment and credit but also scale their businesses to the next level, ” Elizabeth Wasunna added.
“We are excited to join the ‘Sunlight Women of More’ program to support thousands of women who will now be given the opportunity to reach their full potential. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly delayed and derailed the progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), affecting marginalized populations, such as women, more than others. Women need to become leaders and agents of change in their communities and societies programmes such as ‘Sunlight Women of More’ greatly increase this likelihood.” UNITAR Director for Division, Mihoko Kumamoto.
‘Sunlight Women of More’ Pillars
To keep its promise, the campaign is built on three pillars: media, shopper, and education.
The media pillar will donate media spaces to help businesses gain recognition through digital, radio, and out-of-home ad spaces like billboards.
Shopper provides spaces for women to advertise their products through in-store activations, while the education pillar provides financial, literacy, marketing skills, and digital marketing training.
To qualify for the program, you must have owned a business for at least one year, be eager to learn, and be extremely driven to achieve in order to have a positive impact on society.
From June 21st to July 20th, 2021, an open call for entries will be posted on the UNITAR platform.