Among the 5 million active women in Burkina Faso (between 15 and 64 years of age), the vast majority are eager to undertake business not only to strengthen their own socioeconomic development but also to contribute to the sustainable development of the country and even of the continent.

However, based on the observations that the L'OCCITANE Foundation has made during its decades of intervention in the country, most of these women have little self-confidence to the point of destroying their ability to set up projects. ambitious business. Moreover, among the women who have the courage to initiate business projects, many do not receive adequate technical support allowing them to master the machinery of business creation and development. In addition, the financing conditions for entrepreneurial initiatives are not particularly favorable to them.

This observation partly justifies the low rate of less than 10% of women owners of formal businesses mentioned in the National Plan for Economic and Social Development (PNDES 2016-2020). The ambition of the L’OCCITANE Foundation, through this entrepreneurship program, is to support the initiatives of women in Burkina Faso, committed to creating or developing products or services that will contribute to sustainable improvement of the world


Supported Project

In 2016, the L’OCCITANE Foundation initiated the L’OCCITANE pour Elles programme to support entrepreneurial initiatives by women in Burkina Faso. It aims to identify, through a competition, visionary and inspiring women leaders, at the head of operating companies or start-ups, and to give their projects a boost.

The contest, launched in March 2016, led to the selection of 4 companies, owned by 5 women, who best met the programme criteria. The Foundation provides the winners with personalized support, offering the following services according to the needs of each project:

• The close support, in pairs, with a person in charge of accompanying;
• A communication team for visibility;
• The support of a lawyer and tax expert for the structuring;
• A cycle of dedicated collective workshops;
• A suitable workspace and access to an active community;
• A technical support in accounting and financial management;
• A support in the search for financial opportunities.

To do so, the Foundation collaborates with actors such as the social incubator La Fabrique (, the Maison de l'Entreprise du Burkina Faso ( and the network of Initiative France funders (, represented in Burkina Faso as part of this programme by Initiative Ouagadougou.


The 5 winners of the 2016 competition

La Savonnerie Nununa, founded by Barkissa Nununa

A company that transforms shea butter made by thousands of rural women into cosmetic products such as soap, ointment, cream and balm.




Barkissa Nununa

Centre Adaja, founded by Élisabeth Delma and managed by Eliénaï Diendéré

The Adaja centre is a company engaged in the professional integration of vulnerable women (with very modest living conditions) through the making and marketing of woven loincloths made from cotton produced locally "FASO DANFANI".





Agro Déogracias, founded by Esther Diendéré

A company processing fruit into natural juices 100% made in Burkina Faso. Thanks to this company, Esther contributes not only to the promotion of the wild fruits of the country but especially to the improvement of the living conditions of her collaborators (employees, producers, pickers...).




Esther ADG

L’Auxiliaire, founded by Rebecca Soulama

A training company in personal assistance professions, in particular: early childhood professions, assistance to the elderly/sick and or dependent, serving the household...





Some Figures

The LOCCITANE pour Elles programme is the result of the restructuring and lessons learned from female entrepreurship projects previously supported in Burkina Faso by L’OCCITANE through its Foundation and its employees. The first edition of L’OCCITANE pour Elles supported 9 businesses run by women. 5 of them were supported through interest-free credit and financial management advisory support. The 4 others selected thanks to the competition received more complete and personalized support reserved to the competition winners.

This program has had a positive impact on the companies supported but also on their communities. As an example, we can quote the rise in the skills of women entrepreneurs and their employees, the improvement of production and the quality of the products/services offered and the increase in turnover, which for some companies may go as far as double compared to the turnover at the start of the programme. At the community level, the main impact factors were the creation of jobs and the structuring of the supply of raw materials*.

Source: external evaluation of the programme, March 2019

Budget 250.929 euros

Goal 1.416 supported women


"Technical support was essential in order to have results. I realize that if we had injected money into the old system, we would have certainly struggled for a while. we learned a lot of things with the accompanying technique to be able to lead the business well. In addition, I am more open-minded today, I discuss business issues with my employees so that we can find solutions more quickly, and that are beneficial to all. This management relieves me enormously. This programme made me go from being a manager who carries her worries alone and decides alone, to a real leader who delegates, coaches and guides her employees." 


Esther DIENDERE, Manager of Agro Déogracias

Esther Dienderé

"The support allowed me to get to know the core business, which makes me want to continue my fight for the promotion of domestic jobs, from the FAM maternal assistance home to L'auxiliaire today. Despite the workload, I learned to ask myself the relevant questions for the development of a business which primary goal is to make profit in order to be self-financing, even though it is social. Therefore, I developed skills in market research and marketing, keeping the conviction that only great visions change the world."

Rebecca Sita SOULAMA, Manager of L’Auxiliaire

Rebecca Soulama

"Before, we used to produce and deliver the loincloths according to the customers' wishes, which took a lot of time and did not provide enough money. Today, we create collections (with economies of scale) and have stores and a delivery man for large orders. With these new strategies, we suffer less, spend less and earn more profit on each loincloth. As part of such a programme, companies already operating like ours, above all need more specific training. The training we benefited from will be very useful in the long term to stand out from the competition.”

Eliénaï DIENDERE, Managing Director of Adaja

Eliénaï Diendéré