Female Foundry is our business growth programme, designed to give female entrepreneurs access to the tools, training, connections and resources they need to build successful businesses for the digital age. The programme supports our overarching Social Impact target to mentor 100 female entrepreneurs by 2020.
In December 2019, 15 female entrepreneurs became the first cohort to graduate from Dentsu Aegis Network South Africa’s Female Foundry programme.
Women entrepreneurs from businesses including Encapsulate Consulting, C Fruit, Recro Business Services, The Homing Pigeon, Vela Personnel, Maximillion Digital, MLB Digital, Our Salad Mix, Hot Head Media, Zeloi Agency, Gadifele Communications, Brendmo Incorporated, Createplay, Makeda Media and Rhomona G Marketing were selected to participate in the three-day bootcamp in Johannesburg, led by experts from the Global Entrepreneurship Network. They were paired with an experienced mentor to help strengthen their businesses for growth and success, with mentors joining from Dentsu Aegis Network and its agencies John Brown Media, Carat, Amplifi and Vizeum, and partners and clients including Estée Lauder, iAfrican Hub and ABB Global.
Participant Chirene Jelbert, CEO of C Fruit, said:
“It has been a very long time since my soul has been so fed. Entrepreneurship can be so lonely and it was the most phenomenal experience to hear that everyone struggles with the same thing.”
12 female founders joined our first Indian Female Foundry programme in November 2019, hosted at Facebook’s offices in Mumbai. The launch of the initiative was featured across all mainline and trade press, including India’s Economic Times.
We welcomed a range of businesses including Leogirl Productions, Rank Me Online, Tell Me Your Story, Networking Now India, Tute Consult, 71 Events and AIMPI English Academy. Over the three day bootcamp the women entrepreneurs mapped out business canvasses, focusing on a deeper look at their customers, their business models and their opportunities for growth. They also had sessions with mentors from DAN, IBM, Facebook, Neotech Hub and WinPE. The bootcamp culminated in the women pitching their formulated business goals and objectives to their peer and mentor community.
Koral Dasgupta, Founder of Tell Me Your Story, commented:
“The workshops run by Dentsu Aegis Network with GEN helped me think harder and strategise without leaving gaps. They got me to face some fundamental questions, which I hadn’t asked myself earlier. Those answers built supporting blocks for many other dilemmas I had before me. On the last day of Female Foundry we were put before a team of mentors; interacting and listening to the knowledge banks were inspiring. The Female Foundry bootcamp would remain as one of the most pleasant and powerful inputs in my initial phase as a new, first generation entrepreneur.”
The first phase of the initiative in Mexico saw 15 mentors and female entrepreneurs pair up to develop actionable strategies for achieving scale and growth. The initiative was covered in national media, including TV and radio appearances, press releases and influencer marketing, achieving 900,000 impressions.
Lourdes Ambrosi, founder of de Cochinita Vinil, an online stationary company, said:
“Increasingly women are deciding to start a business, and the role of women in business is becoming more recognized. I think there are many women that with this little push from Female Foundry, they would decide to do a lot more.”
In November 2019, 15 female entrepreneurs took part in Chile’s first Female Foundry. The bootcamp went ahead despite the protests and unrest in Santiago at the time. The build up to the initiative saw 60 pieces of coverage released across radio, digital press, social media and direct marketing through women’s organisations.
The female founders represented a range of varied industries and included organisations Bamasuah, Eggy Cafeteria, comunicaxio, Ziru Chocolates, Mamurri and bodynew. Mentors joined us from our agencies iProspect and Isobar, alongside the founders of established businesses within the Chilean entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Sandra Navarrete, Founder of Bodynew, a cosmetics company, said:
“I entered the Female Foundry program in November 2019, despite the unrest and protests in Chile at the time. I immersed myself in the three days of bootcamp where I received a lot of knowledge, and where I could see my company from others’ eyes. I realised that I had been moving away from my main objective as a businesswoman, and Female Foundry gave me the roadmap and tools to continue growing.”
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