Share A Brief History Of GWEN And What Is Its Mission?
Global Women’s Entrepreneurship Network (GWEN) was started with a view to encourage and empower women, across the globe and all sections of society to choose entrepreneurship.
The idea for GWEN germinated in 2009 because I felt the need for a community for women entrepreneurs. I looked around and with no luck, I decided to start one of my own. I designed a logo and started a Facebook page but didn’t have clarity on where to begin. All I knew was that I wanted to create a community for women entrepreneurs. The kind of confidence that I had gained thanks to entrepreneurship was definitely worthy of some shouting from rooftops as well. For lack of a direction, the idea lay dormant until it took on a life of its own in 2017.
I started teaching women from weaker sections of society crochet, a skill I taught myself by watching YouTube videos. A group of 4 women came to my class every Sunday for 18 months until they became experts at making bags, baskets, and mats. We also sold their finished products via an online platform. This gave them not only a source of income but also a great sense of achievement.
A friend of mine volunteered to come and supervise the women, freeing up time for me to grow the organization and take it to women entrepreneurs in the city.
I thought a networking event with the women I already knew in business was the way to go. So we had our first networking event on the rooftop of my house in May 2019 with just 6 of us women. Ever since June 2019 I have taken the event to public venues and made it open to all women, including the ones in the corporate world because the main premise, after all, is to spread the idea of entrepreneurship.
Our mission will always be to empower women through education and provide support through the strength of a community.
Let Us Know About Your Masterclasses And Short Courses For Women Entrepreneurs
We collaborate with women entrepreneurs who are experts in their own fields to conduct master classes and short courses for our community. Our masterclasses are a 3-4-hour event while the short courses run into weeks and some of them are self-taught versions like our creative writing eBook course. Our focus areas are business, personal growth, creativity, health/fitness, parenting, and sustainability. We started GWEN School of Entrepreneurship Development (GWENSED) in 2020 to provide an education platform for aspiring women entrepreneurs as well as existing ones, that’s why the diversity in our courses. The courses on specific skills are to encourage stay at home mothers to start pursuing something of their interest from the comfort of their home without having to worry about daycare for their young children or the finances to buy expensive equipment. We plan to add a lot more courses and will soon have a list of mentors on the website that the women can reach out to directly. We also help women find their strengths and help them hone the necessary skills to start a business of their own.
Share The Insight About Your Social Support Group
The idea for our Social Support Group came about from the glaring need for women to be able to make friends as they get older. From personal experience, I know how challenging it is. A group of other women that they can trust is important in every woman’s life no matter how old she is. That sense of camaraderie, the knowledge of the simple fact that she is not alone does wonders in a woman’s life and helps her create a better balance in her life no matter what she is going through at work or at home. It is known to have major mental health benefits like better management of depression, grief, anxiety, and addictions to name a few. These groups will have only 6-8 women so that they can be kept intimate enough to forge meaningful relationships. All the details to start one on your own are on our website along with some guidelines.
Working At The Grassroots Level, What Are The Challenges That You Face?
A lack of consistency is the biggest challenge as women are not the decision-makers in their lives. They quit because they have to move back to their village to be able to afford education for their children or they have to stay home because their unwell in-laws have moved in with them and are now their responsibility. As a result of this, we spend considerable time training new women every 3 months.
What Do You Think CSR Should Be A Mandate Or Voluntary Activity And Why?
It should definitely be a voluntary activity because only then it will be a wholehearted effort. Anything mandatory doesn’t always come from the heart. CSR needs people to invest time and not expect anything in return and only if you have a genuine interest will you be willing to spend the time and therefore see results.
Any Information That You Would Like To Share With Our Readers?
Every woman should have the freedom to choose what she does with her life, all aspects of it. In my opinion, the only way we can achieve this is through education. The more awareness they have the more confidence they have to make better choices for themselves. What one woman learns she will pass on to the next generation or a fellow woman and that way we can truly see change. As the saying goes, “educate a woman and you educate a nation.”
Throw Some Light On Your Future Plans
As I said, education is going to be our focus from here on out. So, growing our school and offering more relevant courses that can help women become decision-makers in their lives no matter the section of society they come from will be a large part of our work. The time in a woman’s life when her outlook is being formed is during her late teenage years, and we would like to work with the younger generation soon. Also, growing our community is an important aspect as both these complement each other.
– Sneha Mohan (Founder, GWEN)
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not represent those of Diggaj Media. The pictures are provided by the author and is not authorized to be used by anyone else.