Catalyzing Growth in the Women-Run Small and Medium Enterprises Sector (SMEs): Evaluating the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Initiative
10,000 Women is a five-year, global program that harnesses the power of women entrepreneurs to foster economic growth by educating and supporting them in becoming stronger businesswomen. Launched by Goldman Sachs in March 2008, the program will provide 10,000 women who run small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with high-quality business and management skills training. Research shows that these women are often underserved, in terms of access to business or management training and entrepreneurial networks, despite the enormous potential they have to help grow economies in developing countries.
In an attempt to fill this critical gap, 10,000 Women invests in women in the SME sector who belong to what is often referred to as the “missing middle.” 10,000 Women reaches women entrepreneurs in 42 countries, from Afghanistan to Brazil, China to Egypt, India to Rwanda, and has partnered with more than 80 academic and nonprofit partners around the world. Program participants, referred to as “scholars,” are taught practical skills by instructors from some of the most well-regarded business schools in the world. Scholars also are offered mentoring, business support services and networking opportunities with partner institutions, local businesses and Goldman Sachs’ staff.
In India, the Indian School of Business (ISB) implements 10,000 Women in several major cities. Working with classes of 30 women in each cohort, the program includes 150 hours of training in entrepreneurship and business management, including business planning, marketing, finance, accounting and human resource management. ISB faculty presents lectures and engages scholars in analyzing local case studies, as well as in panel discussions. Successful entrepreneurs (including 10,000 Women alumni) participate as guest speakers. Each scholar develops a business plan under the guidance of faculty members. Scholars study on-site at ISB for one week a month for three months. In addition, the program provides scholars with mentoring and networking opportunities with partner institutions.