Our employees are passionate individuals who endeavor to create a lasting positive impact. They are central to fulfilling our commitments to advancing financial health and helping to build a more inclusive global economy. That’s why we partner with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women through their award-winning Mentoring Women in Business programme, creating an opportunity for our employees to volunteer their time and skills in support of the growth of women-led small businesses in emerging markets around the world.
When the partnership was first launched in March 2017, Milind Makwana, a San Jose-based technical program manager, was one of the first employees who signed up to volunteer his time and expertise. While growing up in India, Milind was intrigued by a local business founded by seven neighborhood women with a $2 loan and an experienced mentor advising them. As he grew up, so did the business — from a modest distribution office into a $150,000 company that contributed to the thriving of his entire community. “Volunteering a few hours every month to help an entrepreneur is one way for me to give back,” he said, “and also for PayPal [to give back]. Helping Sofia to build a business, gain economic independence, and expand her influence within her community, will not only empower her, but also her family, community, and ultimately the country.”
Milind’s mentee, Sofia Cortaberria, is based in the central Argentinean city of Cordoba. She is launching a gender equality consultancy, the first in the region, while also freelancing as a project manager and studying for an MBA. “Here in Cordoba, it’s a little bit traditional … we have a lot of stereotypes around women,” Sofia explained, “I want to change that way of seeing women. I want to contribute to the development of my country – to be a part of the change that we need. Through our video mentoring sessions, Milind helped me iterate and improve the business model, prepare presentations for clients, and develop my leadership and organizational abilities.”
Milind’s mentorship has contributed to the development of Sophia’s business skills. He is eager to see the impact that she and her company will have on the empowerment of women in businesses across Cordoba Province and beyond. “I always get inspired whenever I talk to Sofia,” he said. “And it’s amazing to connect more personally and meaningfully with PayPal’s mission and impact.”
Thirty-eight PayPal employees participated in the mentoring programme in 2017, volunteering their time and expertise to women entrepreneurs in eighteen markets.
Photo Caption: Cherie visits one of a number of enterprises owned by Dhanashree, who had received business and financial literacy training through the Foundation’s Driving Women’s Business Growth in India project.