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Cherie Blair Announces Expansion Of Award-Winning Mobile Service To Reach An Additional 75,000 Women Entrepreneurs

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, July 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and the ExxonMobil Foundation to announce expansion of Business Women mobile service to Tanzania during  the George W. Bush Institute ' s Investing in Women: Strengthening Africa  Summit

  • The Business Women mobile service is part of a multi-year initiative to provide tailored business information to women entrepreneurs through mobile phones combined with face-to-face skills development and training
  • Business Women is delivered through Nokia Life+, a web app that provides life-enhancing information designed for specific needs of women in developing and emerging markets
  • The initiative builds on the successful introduction of Business Women services in Nigeria and Indonesia, which has already attracted more than 75,000 subscribers and ultimately aims to reach hundreds of thousands

The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, in partnership with the ExxonMobil Foundation, is expanding its award-winning Business Women mobile service to women entrepreneurs in Tanzania. The service, developed by Nokia, aims to reach more than 75,000 women entrepreneurs, and builds on research and pilot projects in Nigeria and Indonesia, which are already helping more than 75,000 women entrepreneurs to develop and grow their businesses.

"This important service will make a difference to the lives of tens of thousands of women entrepreneurs in Tanzania in the next year, and hundreds of thousands more in the longer term on a global scale," said Cherie Blair, founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women.

Business Women provides tailored content and information to help women entrepreneurs grow their businesses. In Tanzania, the service will be complemented by a project implemented in partnership with the Tanzania Gatsby Trust, an organisation which promotes poverty alleviation by enabling small and medium sized businesses to grow. The collaboration will help support 140 women in scaling up their micro and small enterprises through business skills development, incubation support and enhanced access to capital and markets. The mobile service, which recently received the 2013 Global Telecoms Business Award, provides a scalable model for empowering large numbers of women.

"The Business Women mobile application aligns well with our national commitments to promote women and economic development," said Mrs. Salma Kikwete, First Lady of Tanzania. "This programme will help increase the number of economically empowered women in Tanzania and be a valuable resource for our nation's women entrepreneurs."

The expansion to Tanzania will be formally launched at the African First Ladies Summit, Investing in Women: Strengthening Africa, which is being held in Dar es Salaam. The Summit, organised by the George W. Bush Institute with support from ExxonMobil, is convening African First Ladies, government officials, private organisations, NGOs and academics to discuss best practices that can ensure sustainable, replicable results, benefit women and strengthen society.

"Rapid innovation in mobile technology can yield exponential returns in addressing the business challenges faced by women entrepreneurs," said Suzanne McCarron, president of the ExxonMobil Foundation. "Through this innovative use of technology, women in developing and emerging economies can grow their enterprises, and thereby contribute to their local economies and strengthen their communities."

The service was developed based on groundbreaking research conducted by the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and Booz & Company on the challenges women entrepreneurs face and how mobile technology can be used to address them. The research, supported by the ExxonMobil Foundation, concluded that the extensive and ever-increasing penetration of mobile phones in developing and emerging markets presents a significant opportunity to women entrepreneurs who want to develop their micro businesses.

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