“We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.” –Malala Yousafzai, United Nations 2013
Since its inception, Agora Partnerships has been committed to supporting social entrepreneurs, regardless of their background, socioeconomic status, or gender. This year, we have made strides in supporting women through entrepreneurship. Below are some highlights from the past year:
Increasing Accelerator Participation of Women Entrepreneurs: In 2012, Agora took the lead among Accelerators by pledging to have a 50/50 program. Since then, we have consistently exceeded this goal and are excited to announce outstanding metrics for women leadership in our 2017 and 2018 classes. In 2017 cycle one, 77% of Accelerator companies had mixed management teams and 16% had women-only management teams. In 2018 cycle 2, 88% of Accelerator companies had a woman on their founding team.
VPO: In 2015 Agora worked with partners to launch a Variable Payment Obligation program in Nicaragua, which is a loan product tailored specifically to the needs and characteristics of women-owned and -led SGBs. At our 2018 Entrepreneur Retreat in Nicaragua, Agora will run a VPO-tailored retreat to provide additional in-person support to VPO companies and to introduce them to the broader entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Fundraising for Women: Agora Ambassador, Isabel Whelchel, launched a campaign on Classy to raise funds to support one woman’s participation in an upcoming Accelerator class and to donate to a home for displaced girls in Nicaragua, Hogar de Niñas Madre Albertinato. Isabel hopes to increase investment in local communities and inspire the young women of the Hogar to reach for their dreams.
IPPF-WHR Partnership: Agora is launching a partnership with International Planned Parenthood Western Hemisphere Region (IPPF-WHR). The partnership, piloting during cycle one of the 2018 Accelerator, is designed to address the simultaneous increase in demand for comprehensive healthcare services and the gradual decrease in international funding that came to a head with the reinstatement and expansion of the Global Gag Rule in 2017.
IPPF/WHR is a network of local organizations that provide comprehensive sexual and reproductive healthcare. Last year alone, IPPF/WHR Member Associations (MAs) provided 30 million health services, more than 60% of which went to poor or vulnerable clients. The work of MAs have saved nearly $260 million in direct healthcare costs and averted over two million unintended pregnancies. Leveraging the healthcare expertise of IPPF/WHR and the business acceleration services of Agora Partnerships, the program will provide up to five IPPF/WHR Member Associations (MAs) with the technical resources they need to ensure financial sustainability.
Agora Partnerships is proud of the work we have done to empower women and women entrepreneurs. But, we need your support to continue to provide exemplary services and reach more underserved populations.
Donate today to support Agora Partnerships and the entrepreneurs we serve.