Dell Partners with Cherie Blair Foundation for Women to Support Women Entrepreneurs

Every now and then I meet a woman and think, “Dang, she is a rock star. I want to walk in her high heels.” This happened to me recently at the recent EY Entrepreneur of the Year event where I had the pleasure and privilege to meet Cherie Blair, known to many as the former “First Lady” of the UK as wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Through our conversation, I quickly discovered she is an important leader in her own right.  As well as being an extremely successful lawyer (predominantly in the area of human rights) she is a committed campaigner for women and the founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women

Dell EIR Elizabeth Gore and Cherie Blair chat on stage at Dell Women's Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) event in Berlin, June 29, 2015

Set up in 2008, the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women was established to help women build small and growing businesses in developing and emerging markets so that they can contribute to their economies and have a stronger voice in their societies. Today, the Foundation has supported over 118,000 women across more than 80 countries, providing them with the skills, technology, networks and access to capital that they need to grow and scale their businesses. And she does all this with grace, style and a wit that will knock you down.

As I listened to Cherie recount the important work the Foundation is doing, I quickly realized that there were some tremendous synergies with our programs including the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) and our Global Women Entrepreneur Leaders Scorecard research, which we announced at the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network Summit yesterday. Within a couple of weeks of meeting (because I had to figure out a way to work with this woman) we were able to establish a partnership that will see women from the network, as well as a handful of Dell team members, become trained as mentors to the women entrepreneurs in the Foundation’s Mentoring Women in Business Program. These professionals will work one to one with women entrepreneurs over the course of a year, helping to build their business skills, boost their confidence and, ultimately, strengthen their enterprises so that they can gain financial independence.

At Dell, we were particularly inspired by the Foundation’s approach to mentoring, which uses technology to offer cross-border support to women entrepreneurs. Mentoring relationships are facilitated through an innovative online platform which allows mentors and mentees to network, share and access resources on a wide range of key business skills and become part of a global community of ambitious entrepreneurs. Another great example of technology enabling human potential – Michael Dell’s founding principle and one we still passionately believe in at Dell.

Onstage with me yesterday at the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Summit in Berlin, Germany, Cherie highlighted the important role her Foundation’s Mentoring Women in Business Program plays in empowering women entrepreneurs:

“Many women in developing and emerging economies have the ideas and ambition needed to become successful entrepreneurs, but are held back by barriers such as lack of access to technology and information, market opportunities, business skills and self-confidence. Mentoring plays a vital role in helping women overcome these barriers and access the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to take their businesses to the next level.”

Alongside its mentoring work, which has supported over 1,500 women entrepreneurs globally to date, the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women also runs programs that deliver tailored business training, assist with business registration and enhance access to capital and markets on a global scale.

We’d love to hear your views on what actions are moving the needle for women entrepreneurs in your community. For more information on the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and its mentoring program, please visit www.cherieblairfoundation.org. And if you haven’t yet added your voice to Michael Dell’s in advocating for all entrepreneurs, visit www.entrepreneursunite.com now – a few seconds of your time that can make a huge impact for securing the job opportunities that the world so desperately needs.  And the next time you meet a woman rock star like Cherie Blair, figure out a way to work together and change lives!

Elizabeth Gore

About the Author: Elizabeth Gore

Elizabeth Gore is the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Dell Technologies, where Gore drives initiatives that support Dell’s goals around helping small and medium businesses scale and prosper, fueling the expansion of global entrepreneurship, thereby creating jobs that will drive the world economy. Gore is extending Dell’s global advocacy efforts to raise entrepreneurship to the public policy agenda, encouraging policies and practices that support and enable entrepreneurial growth globally. Elizabeth Gore is personally advising the growth of purpose driven companies such as the women’s accelerator Circular Board, ride share commuting company Scoop, online and mobile fundraising platform Classy, and innovative water company SOMA. Ms. Gore is part owner in Gore Family Vineyards. Ms. Gore is the Emeritus Chair of the United Nations Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council that builds global partnerships that positively affect the UN’s most pressing humanitarian issues. Ms. Gore previously served as the first ever Entrepreneur in Residence for the UN Foundation as well as Vice President of Global Partnerships, and founded strategic grassroots efforts such as Nothing But Nets, Girl Up, and Shot@Life. Ms. Gore is a former United States Peace Corps volunteer and served in Bolivia, South America. She previously, served in previous capacities with the Points of Light Foundation and Share Our Strength. Ms. Gore is originally from Texas where she was a financial development associate for the A&M Foundation. She holds a bachelor of science in Animal Science and a master in Education Administration from Texas A&M University. Ms. Gore was named by People as one of the top 100 Extraordinary Women, is one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business, and Entrepreneur Magazine’s Women to Watch. Ms. Gore has been featured on multiple media outlets including: ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, FOX Business, Fast Company, Fortune, Glamour, Entrepreneur, People, and Time. She is a World Champion Equestrian, a sprint triathlete, runner, and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise awareness for the global clean water crisis on behalf of the United Nations. Ms. Gore currently serves on the leadership council of the Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Ms. Gore resides in Sonoma County with her husband James Gore, a California elected official and has two hilarious children.