Prevent Trafficking in Women thru Entrepreneurship

by HERA (Her Economic Rights and Autonomy) France Association
Prevent Trafficking in Women thru Entrepreneurship
Prevent Trafficking in Women thru Entrepreneurship
Prevent Trafficking in Women thru Entrepreneurship
Prevent Trafficking in Women thru Entrepreneurship
Prevent Trafficking in Women thru Entrepreneurship
Prevent Trafficking in Women thru Entrepreneurship
Prevent Trafficking in Women thru Entrepreneurship
Prevent Trafficking in Women thru Entrepreneurship
Prevent Trafficking in Women thru Entrepreneurship
Prevent Trafficking in Women thru Entrepreneurship
Prevent Trafficking in Women thru Entrepreneurship
Prevent Trafficking in Women thru Entrepreneurship
Prevent Trafficking in Women thru Entrepreneurship
Prevent Trafficking in Women thru Entrepreneurship
Prevent Trafficking in Women thru Entrepreneurship
Prevent Trafficking in Women thru Entrepreneurship
Prevent Trafficking in Women thru Entrepreneurship
Prevent Trafficking in Women thru Entrepreneurship

Project Report | Jul 1, 2021
HERA Summer 2021 Update

By Lynellyn D. Long, Ph.D. | Project Leader

Gayane Simonyan, BeeLife
Gayane Simonyan, BeeLife

Four women entrepreneurs, who received HERA grants at different times in the past, kindly share their experiences about how our support has affected their lives and work over the long term.[1]  Each year the HERA volunteer assessors follow up with our grantees within two or three years later to see how they are faring. Over time we have managed to follow up directly with 75%.  However, we often wonder whether our international grants program, which first began in 2010, has any long-term impact?  To begin to explore this issue, we contacted four women entrepreneurs from different time periods and countries about whether and if so, how the grants have affected their lives and work. We also asked for their advice on how our work could have a bigger impact and where they would like to see HERA go in the future. 

In Armenia, Gayane Simonyan, who received her first grant in 2016 and a second, in 2017, writes that she had a number of financial and resource issues when she was starting her business.  She says that “HERA is the first organization which helped our fledgling business to thrive, and I dare to say that HERA organization is the cornerstone of our venture.”   Gayane organizes and manages BeeLife, which produces apitherapy products (honey, beeswax, beeswax candles, royal jelly, skin creams based on beeswax and propolis) in “ecologically clean packages”.  As BeeLife grew, Gayane developed and trained a network of local women beekeepers, whose members are the main suppliers for the company’s beekeeping products. After receiving her first grant, Gayane also offered to help HERA as a local organizer, recruiter, and translator.  She now believes that HERA could have a bigger impact if we had an office in Armenia, where “we could organize business seminars and have business mentors, networking, exchange of experience and other important courses for the business sector.”  Gayane would also like to see HERA expand to more countries and to have branch offices in all countries as well.  As far as the lasting impact of HERA on her work, Gayane observes that:

With the help of HERA organization, I started to involve women in my venture and discovered the great potential in women, which they can use for business.  Working with HERA I also started to think not only about me and my business but also started to be responsible for the women of my community as well.  

In Georgia, Eka Verulashvili and her partner, Marika Bibileishvili, founded “Teamania”, a boutique tea and coffee retail chain.  They learned about HERA from a German professor, who knew Dr. Nico Nissen, one of the program founders.  They began directly communicating with Nico and applied for and received grants in 2010 and 2011.  Eka notes: “At that time, it was almost impossible to get a loan from a bank and we really needed some equipment to expand our business.” The first grant helped Teamania with a coffee machine for their shop in Tbilisi.  The second helped with equipment to open another shop and employ three young women. Currently the Temania team has eight shops in Tbilisi, employs 20 women (including two Abkhazian refugees), and plans to expandi to Kutaisi.  Eka would like to see HERA increase our impact by engaging former grantees to mentor other young women entrepreneurs starting out in similar businesses.  She observes, “If we had had such advice, it would have saved us some time, effort, money and energy not to make mistakes when developing our business.”  She observes that HERA’s support helped keep one of the Teamania shops going during a difficult period so they could continue employing three women.  For the future, Eka would also like to see HERA profile grant recipient companies on the web and social media; and more actively work on encouraging women to work with and inspire other women.

In Moldova, Ludmila Griu first began translating for the HERA assessment teams in 2015.  She observes:

I was drawn to the concept of providing financial support to women that have great ideas and growth aspirations. Moreover, reaching out to women in rural areas, that do not know English and don’t have access to information on funding opportunities. It was really inspiring to see their happiness when receiving support from HERA and how this opportunity is shared with the community, encouraging other women to apply.

In 2018, Ludmila decided to pursue her own passion of baking deserts for family and friends to become a Pastry Chef.  In 2020, she opened her own atelier.  With a HERA grant she bought a professional mixer, which allows her to produce 250-400 macarons daily.  She writes, 

Being part of HERA and receiving the support with purchasing the mixer has helped grow my business and also had a positive effect on the quality of produced goods. I proudly share my experience with the program and encourage other female entrepreneurs to apply. This support was not only of financial nature; it also gave me the confidence and inspiration to continue striving for greater results.  

She, too, would like HERA to have dedicated, in-country staff, who could reach more rural women to help with their applications, capacity building, and training; and would like us to provide more financial aid and sustained support to achieve positive changes in these communities.  Ludmila writes, “I definitely think that HERA is on the right track with their activities in supporting female empowerment and growth.”

In Ukraine, Svetlana Goncharova, the organizer of “Flymama”, an online, education portal providing advice for women entrepreneurs in Ukraine and Russia, received a first grant for her printing business in 2012 and a second, in 2013.  Sveta, mother of two young sons at the time, writes:

I launched my first website Flymama.info and started doing online training for moms. I started my business with $300, which I got as a birthday gift, as I didn't have any extra money to invest in my company. And I was very surprised and even thrilled that HERA believed in me and my ideas. I got a grant to publish my very first calendar for moms! To get the money was great. But to find someone who believes in you was even better! I'm so grateful for your support guys! 

Sveta also volunteered as an organizer in HERA’s early days in Ukraine and helped in recruiting, training, and mentoring other young women entrepreneurs.  When she and her family eventually migrated to New Brunswick (through official channels), she continued helping to recruit and advise women online.  Not surprisingly, Sveta recommends that HERA be more visible on social media and says, “This way many more people will get to know what you do and help you to find the women who need your support.”  Given that she also continues to work with women throughout Ukraine and Russia, Sveta recommends HERA expand to Russia as well.  In Canada, Flymama helps parents with raising “children through love not fear” and Sveta continues to help women entrepreneurs in myriad ways.  She concludes, “I’m so happy that through knowing HERA, I could help other women to find help and support.”

These four women have given back so much to others. Their stories and advice will help inform this year’s competition selection and our planning ahead.  HERA already supports former grantees and collaborates with local NGO partners to provide some ongoing support for applications, training, recruitment, and mentoring in all four countries.  However, this support should be formalized as part of our program.  HERA also needs a systematic online presence and given more resources, we would definitely consider expanding our remit to other countries where supporting women entrepreneurs and employment could make a difference to prevent dangerous migration and trafficking.

This year’s online competition closed on June 30th Already, we have received approximately 150 applications, of which we hope to fund a third.  We could not meet the demand of many great applicants last year. Thus, we are pleased to announce that through GlobalGiving, HERA recently received a very generous grant from Airbnb to help support more grantees this year.  Many, many thanks to Airbnb and GlobalGiving, and to our many unstinting individual supporters.  Your support will make a difference in the lives of many young women in these four countries. The collaboration of HERA France Association and HERA USA also allows us to raise additional funds to support “Science, Technology, Education and Mathematics” (STEM) ventures.  Finally, many thanks to all the HERA women entrepreneurs, who continue to support young women’s employment and mentor other women entrepreneurs.  You are role models.  As we learned during this pandemic, your work not only helps your communities provide sound economic alternatives to dangerous migration and trafficking but also, vital goods and services.

 

[1] We have received permission to use all names and photos, the four women entrepreneurs provided the information and direct quotes through an online questionnaire and reviewed these profiles.

Eka Verulashvili, Teamania
Eka Verulashvili, Teamania
Ludmila Gru, Pastry Shop
Ludmila Gru, Pastry Shop
Sveta Goncharova, Flymama
Sveta Goncharova, Flymama
Beekeeping Cooperative, Armenia
Beekeeping Cooperative, Armenia
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Mar 5, 2021
HERA Women's Stories - International Women's Week

By Lynellyn D. Long, Ph.D. | Project Leader

Nov 30, 2020
HERA International Grants 2020

By Lynellyn D. Long, Ph.D. | Project Leader

About Project Reports

Project reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you can recieve an email when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports without donating.

Sign up for updates

Project Leader:
Lynellyn Long
Sancerre , France
$269,858 raised of $500,000 goal
 
1,748 donations
$230,142 to go
Donate Now

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Get incredible stories, promotions, and matching offers in your inbox

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.