Supporting women entrepreneurship in Senegal


    September 26, 2022


    The Signify Foundation supports ElleSolaire’s women entrepreneur distribution network: The Women Saving 4 Resilience (WS4R) project with a grant for training and working capital. WS4R contributes to innovative COVID-19 response and recovery efforts related to Savings Groups, in the areas of women’s livelihoods, voice and leadership and clean energy in Senegal.


    For more than fifty years, Senegal has experienced rates of economic growth close to the rate of population growth. Despite that, sustainable reduction in poverty, particularly in rural communities has yet to be achieved. Moreover, COVID-19 has placed additional pressure on local economies in Senegal, exacerbating the vulnerabilities of the most marginalized populations, especially women.


    In a survey completed in January 2021, there was strong evidence of the negative impacts of COVID-19 on economic and mental health of ElleSolaire’s Savings Groups. 100% of women reported a reduction in both the income-generating opportunities for their group and revenues generated since the outbreak of COVID-19.

    Supporting women entrepreneurship in Senegal

    Women are the primary energy managers in their households in rural Senegal. They are thus best placed to promote the benefits of renewable energy solutions in their rural communities and across their extensive social networks.


    ElleSolaire’s mission is to empower women in West Africa through clean energy entrepreneurship and community-based capacity building. The organisation partners with the women's Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA), working together in response to gender inequalities and energy poverty. In West Africa 200 million people have no access to energy and women and girls are disproportionately affected.


    Through WS4R, ElleSolaire’s women entrepreneur distribution network strives to create pathways towards self-reliance, professional inclusion, resilience and sustainable energy poverty alleviation. These pathways are made possible as the organisation makes life-changing solar technologies increasingly accessible and harnesses the innate capacities of its women entrepreneurs.

    Supporting women entrepreneurship in Senegal

    We have already learned a lot with ElleSolaire, how to sell the products and install them. They also introduced us to marketing. I like my status as a woman entrepreneur. I am in control of my own choices and there have been a lot of positive changes in many facets of my life. I am proud of what I have accomplished and my goal is to continue on this path.”


    Seynabou Faye

    ElleSolaire Women Entrepreneur

    To help the women grow in skills and autonomy and to help shift the perception of women in their communities, ElleSolaire launched the ElleSolaire Academy - the first certified solar entrepreneurship training for marginalized women in rural Senegal. The academy offers business and technical skills empowering women’s professional integration, economic inclusion and social empowerment. Our partnership aims to train and certify over 70 women who will then start their solar entrepreneurship journey, while creating new sources of income for 2,100 rural women’s Savings Group members.


    Training and economic empowerment are key to changing the way rural women live; offering the means to enhance the quality of daily life and the respect to give them stronger voices in their community. ElleSolaire will continue its partnership with the Signify Foundation to test and expand its Savings Group partnership model and ElleSolaire Academy into the Kaolack region.

    Supporting women entrepreneurship in Senegal

    About the author:

    Neda Riazi

    Neda Riazi

    Business Development and Programme Manager, ElleSolaire


    For further information, please contact:

    Signify Global Integrated Communications
    Neil Pattie
    Tel: + 31 6 15 08 48 17

    About Signify


    Signify (Euronext: LIGHT) is the world leader in lighting for professionals, consumers and the Internet of Things. Our Philips products, Interact systems and data-enabled services, deliver business value and transform life in homes, buildings and public spaces. In 2023, we had sales of EUR 6.7 billion, approximately 32,000 employees and a presence in over 70 countries. We unlock the extraordinary potential of light for brighter lives and a better world. We have been in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index since our IPO for seven consecutive years and have achieved the EcoVadis Platinum rating for four consecutive years, placing Signify in the top one percent of companies assessed. News from Signify can be found in the Newsroom, on X, LinkedIn and Instagram. Information for investors is located on the Investor Relations page.

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