August 23rd, 2012 – As part of its mission to connect the next billion people to relevant information and the internet, Nokia, in partnership with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and MTN Nigeria, today announced a new Nokia Life service that will provide essential business and entrepreneurship tips to women entrepreneurs in Nigeria. The service, Business Women, will be the latest addition to the Nokia Life service portfolio.
Women entrepreneurs are faced with significant barriers to scaling up their businesses, including access to affordable resources, marketing channels and training inputs. The Business Women service aims to address this imbalance, by providing essential business and entrepreneurship tips, delivered via SMS to mobile phones with the Nokia Life service. Research conducted by the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, supported by the ExxonMobil Foundation, showed that 93% of women entrepreneurs in Nigeria were willing to use a valued-added mobile service like Business Women to address the core challenges they face in their business; and 75% of them felt that addressing these challenges would lead to a significant increase in the value of their business [“Mobile Value Added Services: A Business Growth Opportunity for Women Entrepreneurs”, May 2012].
By partnering with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women to make the Business Women service a reality, Nokia re-affirms its commitment to connect people to opportunities, including making women a larger part of the next billion people to be connected.
Cherie Blair, Founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, said partnering with Nokia on the Business Women service is a ‘welcome development’.
Giving women the chance to become financially independent and make the most of their talents is the key to higher living standards for them and their families,” said Mrs. Blair. “With the extensive reach of Business Women through Nokia Life and content tailored especially for Nigerian women entrepreneurs, this new service has the potential to empower thousands of women business owners.”
James Rutherford, Vice President of Nokia West Africa, said, “Working with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women is a key milestone on our journey to connect the next billion people to relevant information. Nokia Life is by far the world’s largest mobile information services suite helping consumers in emerging markets learn, live, and share information better. The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women invests in women entrepreneurs to build and expand their businesses, and in doing so, benefit not only themselves but also their families and communities. We are delighted to partner with the Foundation to provide Nigerian women with the best information available to help grow their businesses.’’
Leading telecommunications provider, MTN Nigeria, will provide the service free of charge for an initial period of subscription to Nigerian women. Sifiso Dabengwa, President and Chief Executive Officer, MTN Group, said, “We are confident that MTN customers will enjoy the Business Women service, which has the potential to enrich many people’s lives.”
Business Women was unveiled today in Nigeria at an event that included the participation of Cherie Blair, top female entrepreneurs, women’s associations and local students.
*Ashoka Changemakers and Cherie Blair Foundation are network partners. Visit www.changemakers.com for more social innovations and innovators from around the world.