What is the VV GROW Fellowship?
The Vital Voices GROW Fellowship is a leading global accelerator program for women owners of small and medium sized businesses. The program includes customized business skills training, leadership development, technical assistance, and access to networks. Through online and in-person trainings, fellows focus on strategy and long-term business value paired with action-oriented strategic plans to grow their businesses. They amplify their role as leaders in their businesses and their communities creating jobs, stimulating long-term economic growth and producing wider social benefits.
Through the program, participants gain knowledge and skills in strategic planning, financial management, marketing & sales, strategic networking, leadership, human resources, communications. They gain access to valuable technical assistance and become a part of a supportive global network of women business owners, as well as the Vital Voices network of women leaders around the world.
What does the fellowship include?
1. Virtual Learning Phase I: Through a series of webinars, assignments, online courses, assessments, and one-on one calls, fellows learn about core topics and assess the state of their business in order to develop a strategic plan for growth.
2. In-Person Training: Fellows participate in a 3-4 day workshop during which they learn and practice essential skills including communications. Fellows also get the opportunity to meet, network with, and learn from other fellows in their cohort, Vital Voices staff, trainers and others.
3. Virtual Learning Phase II: Following the in-person training, fellows build on Phase I and begin implementing their strategic plans and learn about additional topics critical to achieving her business growth goals. Fellows are also connected to individualized growth services and support provided by Vital Voices partners.
What results have we seen?
- Growth in Sales + Job Creation: 2014 fellows have grown sales on average by 55% and 40% of 2013 fellows have increased the number of employees in their business.
- Improved Business Management: 100% of 2014 fellows made changes to their business to improve productivity, including improving marketing and communications, implementing a strategic growth plan; improving financial record keeping, developing at least one new product, and improving quality controls.
- Networking for Business Growth: 87% of 2015 fellows used at least one connection made during the fellowship to grow their business (useful business advice; access to other business contacts; professional services and encouragement)
- Multiplier Effect: Fellows from the first four cohorts of the fellowship have gone on to mentor 3,637 people, train 16,939 people outside their business, and have reached 146,608 audience members through speeches or presentations on women’s empowerment.
Why did we create this program?
There are an estimated 12 million women owned small-and medium-businesses around the world, 7 million of which are in developing countries. These businesses and the women who lead them have the potential to be a powerful force for building prosperity through inclusive economic growth and job creation. While the potential for economic contributions are significant, women business owners face challenges in accessing the support services they need to grow, including networks, training, financing and markets. With generous support from platinum partners FedEx and the Argidius Foundation, Vital Voices created the VV GROW Fellowship, the only accelerator of its kind to partner with women business leaders to address their key obstacles to growth and enhance their leadership impact.
Who can apply?
Women business owners who:
- Own a business that… o Has been operating for at least 3 years
- Employs at least 3 full time staff (or the equivalent of 3 full time staff in part time staff) including the applicant
- Generates at least US $40,000 in annual sales
- Reside in the same country as their business for at least 7 months out of the year
- Are proficient in spoken and written English
As an interested applicant, you:
- Are enthusiastic about participating in a one-year business accelerator program
- Are motivated to learn new skills and make changes to grow their business
- Have the authority to make critical decisions in their business
- Have demonstrated leadership within their community and commitments towards making a positive social impact
- Are willing to have Vital Voices track their business growth during the Fellowship, and up to 3 years afterwards and participate in data collection including online surveys and phone calls
Can non-profits apply?
The VV GROW Fellowship is exclusively for women who lead or own a for-profit business.
Do I have to be a fluent English speaker to participate?
All content covered throughout the VV GROW Fellowship is delivered in English. English language proficiency is a requirement to participate in the program.
What are my responsibilities as a VV GROW fellow?
There is a participation fee of US $1,500, which is approximately 5% of the overall program cost per participant. Note: The fee can be paid in installments.
Vital Voices will cover all travel expenses (flight, accommodations, meals, visa fees) for the 3-4 day in-person training.
Scholarships A limited number of need and merit based scholarships will be available. Details will be provided in the notifications of acceptance into the program.
Fellows commit to:
4-7 hours per week (January – May 2020) for webinars, homework assignments and phone calls
Attending the entire 3-4 day in person training in June 2020 (Location To Be Confirmed)
2-3 hours per week (June – December 2020) for webinars, homework assignments and phone calls
Submitting surveys and participating in phone calls with Vital Voices to track their business growth during the Fellowship and for up to three years afterwards
What will I receive as a VV GROW Fellow?
The VV GROW Fellowship is a highly competitive program that provides customized business skills training and support valued at over US $25,000 per participant.
Through the Fellowship, participants will:
- Increase their knowledge, skills, and confidence in strategic planning, financial management, marketing & sales, strategic networking, leadership, human resources, and communications
- Receive guidance, training and support from global expert business trainers
- Establish valuable relationships and be a part of a Vital Voices global network of women business leaders (VV GROW Cohort 7)
- Participate in a transformative 3-4 day in person training previously held in various cities throughout the world Receive referral(s) to business support services and other growth opportunities
- Receive a certificate of program completion
Become a part of the Vital Voices Global Leadership Network upon graduation To learn more about the VV GROW Fellowship’s unique value and impact, learn about out the journey of five VV GROW fellows and their experiences with the program here.
How can I apply?
You can fill out an application for the program here: http://bit.ly/vvgrow2020
If I have applied in the past, do I need to reapply?
Yes. Applicants interested in participating in the fellowship must fill out an application regardless of whether they have applied previously.
How long will the application take?
This application should take approximately 60 to 90 minutes to complete. You will be able to save your answers and return to the application at any time. To do this, click the “Save and Continue Later” box that appears at the top right corner of the application in each section and provide your email address. You will then receive an email with a personal link that you should use to return to your application.
When is the application due?
The application deadline is August 31, 2019. Late applications will not be considered.
Who can I contact if I have any questions about the application?
If you encounter questions or problems with the application, please send an email to Dalin Nhean at DalinNhean@vitalvoices.org with the subject line: VV GROW Fellowship Application.
What happens after I apply?
Applicants selected for the next round, will be contacted for a 1-hour Skype interview. All applicants will be notified about final decisions by December 14, 2019.