The Story Behind The Women Lifting Women Series
An initiative that’s courtesy of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) Mombasa Chapter
BY WANJIKU WAMBUGU
This is a peer-to-peer online support group introduced with the aim of checking and assisting women in business to navigate the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The forum is my initiative that’s driven by the role I play as the Director at the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) Mombasa in charge of the women’s platform. I facilitate the online meetings every Friday from 12:00pm to 1:00pm, starting 27th March 2020.
Generally, when a crisis occurs, women and children are known to be the hardest hit. In particular, women entrepreneurs take up a number of intertwining roles as mothers as well as entrepreneurs and partners (where applicable).
Today with the children out school and all of us basically at home, many women are now their children’s teachers.
Additionally, the closure of many businesses coupled with the directive and appeal for non-essential staff to stay at home, some of the busy women are already feeling isolated.
It’s an imperative that the entrepreneur as the business leader develops a strong and working coping mechanism.
Deliberately reaching out to these women opens a door for them to speak and share out their feelings and thoughts in the here and now. The talking and sharing may sound a simple need, but it is key in uplifting the spirits of many women.
The network created forms a bond where we all learn from each other and at the same
time become each other’s helper. Practical help is offered from the sharing. Additionally, external resources, such as counsellors and others, shall be called upon to help where needed.
Amazing things happen when women come together with a common goal.
The aim of mobilizing ways of coping should achieve the following:
1. Reduction of the threat caused by the pandemic.
2. Elimination of the threat.
3. Embark on a journey of discovery.
4. Create and expand each person’s professional network.
5. Promote mental health wellness for women entrepreneurs.
6. Enhance knowledge and skills for youth, women and communities to achieve their full potential.
7. Enhance the economic empowerment of vulnerable women and their families.
We’d love to connect with you in the next meeting. Come and meet like-minded women entrepreneurs. Learn, share, and get inspiration and support as we walk through the COVID-19 season together.
Benefits of the Series
New contacts and referrals
The most obvious benefit of networking is to meet potential clients and/or generate
referrals which you can then follow up on to hopefully add to your client base. Networking can also help you identify opportunities for partnerships, joint ventures, or new areas of expansion for your business.
You need to meet and communicate with potential clients and business partners on a regular basis to maintain your business relationships. Attending business luncheons and other networking events raises your personal profile and can help keep you front and center in the minds of the right people. But currently this is only possible online/ virtually due to the COVID-19.
In an ever-changing business climate it is important to keep up with the target market conditions as well as overall trends in your industry. Knowing the market is the key to developing a successful marketing plan. Participating in the series and networking with your peers and business associates on a regular basis will help you stay current.
In addition to the potential of increasing your business you can often find solutions to your own business problems or needs by networking.
- Sharing knowledge and experience
Networking is ideal for expanding your knowledge by taking advantage of the viewpoints and prior experience of others. If for example, you are thinking of getting into the import or export business you may be able to get some valuable advice from someone else who has done similar business internationally. Taking advantage of the experiences of others before you invest time and money in a particular venture can be
- Confidence and morale
- Most business people are optimistic and positive. Regularly associating with such people can be a great morale boost, particularly in the difficult early phases of a new
business. If you are not naturally outgoing, regularly meeting new people can also boost your confidence and on a personal basis you may form new friendships with like-minded people.