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The Vital Voices GROW Fellowship (VV GROW) is a global business accelerator and leadership development program for women owners of small and medium sized businesses. This program aims to elevate women business leaders as drivers for economic growth in their communities, countries and the world.

Today, there are an estimated 12 million women-owned small and-medium sized businesses around the world, and 7 million of those businesses are in developing countries. Globally, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) represent 45% of full time employment and more than 70% job creation in low- and middle-income countries. But women business owners face disproportionate challenges in accessing the services and support needed to grow their businesses, including financial services, business training, networks and access to markets.

At Vital Voices, we believe that women-owned businesses are a powerful force for inclusive growth and prosperity. By supporting women at the helm of SMEs and businesses, the VV GROW Fellowship helps women create jobs, catalyze economic growth and drive social change around the world.

VV GROW offers customized business skills training, leadership development, technical assistance, and access to networks. Through online trainings, fellows focus on strategy and long-term business value, and put those concepts to work by building action-oriented strategic plans to grow their businesses.

With VV GROW, Fellows gain knowledge and skills in strategic planning, financial management, marketing, sales, strategic networking, leadership, human resources and communications. Fellows receive valuable technical assistance and become part of a supportive global network of women leaders across the Vital Voices global network

Apply to VV GROW Today!


VV GROW Fellowship 2021 Application

About 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 provides customized business skills training, leadership development, technical assistance, and access to networks and connections. Through online trainings, fellows focus on long-term business strategy paired with action-oriented strategic plans to grow their businesses. They amplify their roles as leaders in their businesses and their communities creating jobs, stimulating 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 and communications. They receive valuable technical assistance and support, and become members of a valuable global network of women business owners and the broader Vital Voices network of more than 18,000 of women leaders around the world.

The one-year fellowship includes: 

  1. Virtual Learning: Through a series of webinars, assignments, one-on-one and small group calls, fellows learn about core topics and assess their businesses in order to develop and implement a strategic plan for growth. Throughout the 12 months of virtual learning, fellows gain skills and knowledge to strengthen business operations, identify and prepare for opportunities for growth and successfully achieve long-term sustainable growth.
  2. Virtual Convening: Fellows participate in a 3-day online conference focused on leadership and networking. Through dynamic interactive sessions, fellows connect virtually with each other, program partners, Vital Voices trainers and staff, strengthening their Vital Voices global network.
  3. Growth Services and Support: During the year, fellows learn about various topics and resources that are critical to achieving their business growth goals. They are connected to opportunities and individualized growth services and support provided by Vital Voices and our partners. 

Who can apply?
Women entrepreneurs or social entrepreneurs who: 

  • Own a qualifying business that… 
    • Have been operating this business for at least 3 years
    • Employs at least 3 full time staff including the applicant (or the equivalent of 3 full time staff in part time staff)
    • Generates at least US $40,000 in annual sales
  • Are proficient in spoken and written English
  • Have demonstrated leadership, key decision making authority within their business and manage the business on an ongoing basis
  • Have a commitment toward making positive social impact and an interest in expanding their social impact
  • If you are involved in more than one business, the above criteria must apply to the business that you would like to focus on during the fellowship

Interested applicants: 

  • 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 
  • Are willing to commit to working with Vital Voices to track their business growth during the program  and up to 3 years afterwards by being responsive and participating in data collection activities including online surveys and phone calls
  • Are interested in collaborating and supporting the other women in their cohort  

What will you receive from the program?
The VV GROW Fellowship is a highly competitive program that provides customized business skills training and support valued at over US $20,000 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, communications and other business related topics
  • Receive guidance, training and support from global expert business trainers and coaches 
  • Develop valuable relationships with a group of women business leaders from around the world (VV GROW Cohort 8)
  • Participate in a transformative 3-day virtual convening  
  • Receive referral(s) to business support services and other growth opportunities
  • Receive a certificate of program completion
  • Become a member of the Vital Voices Global Leadership Network upon graduation

To learn more about the VV GROW Fellowship’s unique value and impact, learn about the journey of five VV GROW fellows and their experiences with the program here.

Also, learn about other VV GROW fellows from IndiaGuatemala, and the US in California and Baltimore.

What are the program expectations and what do fellows commit to as part of their participation?

  • Dedicate 2-7 hours per week (January – December 2021) for webinars, homework assignments and phone calls
  • Attend the entire 3-day virtual convening in summer 2021 (date TBD)
  • Submit surveys and participate in phone calls with Vital Voices

What are the participation costs?
There is a participation fee of US $1,500. Note: The fee can be paid in installments on a schedule provided by Vital Voices.

A limited number of need and merit-based scholarships will be available. Details will be provided in the notifications of acceptance into the program. If you are interested in being considered for a scholarship, please note that within the application.

What happens after I apply?
Applications are considered on a rolling basis until December 15, 2020 or until all participants are selected. Applicants may be asked to participate in a 1-hour Skype interview. All applicants will be notified about final decisions by December, 2020. Early applications are strongly encouraged as this is a rolling basis acceptance.

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