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Road to Growth

Road to Growth is a collaborative venture developed in partnership between the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and the ExxonMobil Foundation, designed to build the business skills and financial literacy of women entrepreneurs.

Structure of the programme

Road to Growth provides support to women entrepreneurs in a series of phases.

Phase 1

Two thousand women access learning, networking and support opportunities through a mobile learning app called HerVenture. The app features five learning ‘tracks’ on a range of needs, including launching a business, product innovation and expanding market access. Based on user input, the app suggests a personalised learning roadmap for each entrepreneur. It also allows users to find and connect with each other, as well as learn about local business events.

Phase 2

2a. Eight hundred of these women will be selected to undertake financial literacy and investment readiness training over six weeks (please see below for selection criteria). The women will take an online training course structured around a custom-built ‘Road to Growth’ curriculum. This will be supplemented with face-to-face training and support and peer-to-peer learning.

Eligibility criteria

In order to qualify for phase 2a women must:

  • Own a business in Nigeria
  • Operate a business in a high-growth sector
  • Have between three and 49 staff
  • Have an annual turnover of ₦ 3-20 million (USD 15,752 – USD 63,000)
  • Have a business which has generated profit for at least two years
  • Have a strong desire and commitment to grow their business
  • Have a need for additional investment and have had no previous access to loans

2b. The other women will have access to an online version of the training course only.

Phase 3

One hundred and sixty of the women who completed phase 2a will be selected to receive further intensive support over six months to access financial services, investment, and new markets through advanced business workshops and customised coaching.

Road to Growth’s unique model

Is tailored to meet the financial literacy needs of women owners of small businesses.

Leverages the strengths of peer-to-peer learning and networking with other women entrepreneurs.

Facilitates connections between women entrepreneurs and financial institutions. Participants build confidence as they form relationships with banks.

Weaves a focus on gender and cultural issues throughout the training, helping women overcome barriers through role-playing, hands-on activities, case studies, and inspirational talks from successful women entrepreneurs.

Offers a step-by-step “learning journey” towards financial capability, combining the benefits of self-paced e-learning with high-touch in-class instruction.

“I had an amazing learning experience, particularly learning to put together financial statements for my business, making a sales forecast and the cash flow projection. The learning made it so much easier and the videos were detailed and explanatory.”

“This training has been really valuable to my business.
I have attended a lot of capacity-building training but this was different and genuinely amazing.
I have never felt so motivated before.
Thank you so much.”

This program has set me on my way to achieving my growth plan. I am more confident and knowledgeable about financial literacy and investment readiness.

“It has empowered me to dare to fly, fly high and achieve my goals. Networking with different women gives the soothing feeling of me not being alone with my challenges. I'm more confident to ignore the screams and pursue
my dreams.”

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See what else participants have to say

Documented impact

Road to Growth was successfully piloted with 500 women business owners in Nigeria in 2015-16 and was subsequently launched in Mexico in 2018.

Read more about the impact of the Nigeria pilot.

Project sponsors and partners

Cherie Blair Foundation for Women

The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women provides women in developing and emerging economies with the skills, technology, networks and access to financial services that they need to become successful small and growing business owners, so that they can contribute to their economies and have a stronger voice in their societies, resulting in a brighter future for the women themselves and their communities as a whole. To learn more, visit

ExxonMobil Foundation

Since 2005, the ExxonMobil Foundation has helped women in developing countries fulfil their economic potential and drive economic and social change in their communities.

To date, they have invested more than $80 million to help community-based and global partners implement programs directly benefiting tens of thousands of women in over 90 countries. Visit for more information.

Enterprise Development Centre

The Enterprise Development Centre of Pan-Atlantic University has the mission of providing holistic business development and support services to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.

EDC provides capacity building programmes and a variety of wrap-around services such as advisory services, mentoring, experts-in-residence, network meetings, access to market & information, implementation of organisational plans and more. To learn more, visit:

Emerging 360

Emerging360 is a boutique consultancy promoting inclusive economic develop-ment through digital innovation, MSME capacity building, and mobile learning, blended learning, and e-Learning for development. The Emerging360 team has collaborated with the World Bank, International Finance Corporation, CGAP, the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, and leading private, social, and public sector organisations on every major continent. Emerging360 is headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area with teams in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. To learn more, please visit

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