Archive for the 'Country specific' Category

How Mastercard is Investing in Women Entrepreneurs in Developing Nations

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In Michelle Martin’s recent Forbes article, “How Mastercard Could Close A $300 Billion Credit Gap For Women Entrepreneurs,” she reports,

“As of 2017, 70% of women-owned MSMEs [micro, small and medium-sized enterprises] in the developing world lack access to adequate financing, representing a $300 billion credit gap each year.”

This major finance inequality stems from MSMEs not having access to a digital record of transactions or the resources required by banks to obtain credit. Because of these issues, women entrepreneurs, in places such as Nairobi Kenya, are not able to gain the capital needed to purchase inventory in order to expand their enterprises. Expanding a business is critical to the success of a business, and makes it possible for the entrepreneur to potentially achieve success on a global level.

Thanks to Mastercard, this $300 billion credit breach is about to change. The corporation is launching technology, through the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, to aide women owned MSMEs in these countries. Martin explains,

“In partnership with Unilever, Mastercard recently launched the Jaza Duka program in Kenya, where they created a first-of-its-kind digital lending platform. The unique platform tracks how much Unilever product a store owner has purchased over time and combines that data with an analysis by Mastercard. The results are used to provide a micro-credit eligibility recommendation to Kenya Commercial Bank, who can then provide an interest-free credit line.”

The venture is already being met with success. In one instance, a Kenyan entrepreneur named Lucy Njoki, has been able to increase her sales at her shop by twenty-percent, thanks to the Jaza Duka program.

To read Martin’s full piece, and an interview she conducted with one of the executives of this Mastercard program, Shamina Singh, click here.

This support of global women entrepreneurs is the kind of change that we here at wegg™ are proud to watch. If you or a woman entrepreneur you know is trying to “go global,” we would love to help you, too.

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JOIN us for our morning wegg™ workshop on September 12th and hosted by Bank of America (135 S. LaSalle Street, 44th Floor).  Julie Smolyansky, President and CEO, Lifeway Foods, will present “Follow Your Gut,” covering:

  • How global factors influence company values and mission
  • Why we should empower women entrepreneurs around the world
  • How to channel inspiration from travel experiences into marketing initiatives

Tickets $40 ($20 for students); includes Continental Breakfast.  To learn more and to register, visit:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/weggtm-workshop-follow-your-gut-presented-by-julie-smolyansky-tickets-48655708534
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Unlocking the Full Potential of Women- led SMEs in Indonesia

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In a recent East Asia Forum article, “Unleashing the capabilities of women-led SMEs in Indonesia,” author Naimah Talib reports that 43 percent of the 26 million small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) in Indonesia are women led or women owned (WSMEs). Not only do these WSMEs make up for ten percent of the country’s GDP, they also lead to social development of the culture by empowering women economically. Besides these major benefits, support of WSMEs aids Indonesia in achieving the UN’s “Sustainable Development Goals”, specifically the tenets of ‘gender equality,’ ‘decent work and economic growth’, and ‘reduced inequality’.

The advantages of backing WSMEs are clear, but why are there limitations on the growth of these organizations? This is the question that Talib proposes. She illustrates just some of the difficulties women who head businesses face. Talib explains,

” …common difficulties for expansion [for WSMEs] include limited access to information about financial support, lack of business and entrepreneurial skills, lack of professional networks and limited government support and services at the local level. Financial support is available for WSMEs, but female entrepreneurs tend to lack information about these options. Female entrepreneurs find that information about government funding programs is often limited, difficult to access or unclear.”

One of Talib’s main arguments suggest that Indonesian policymakers fail to effectively provide WSMEs with the necessary resources to solve these issues. Talib writes of the necessary reform,

“Three areas require greater attention: increasing the accessibility of information, strengthening the institutional capacity of the Creative Economy Agency and improving government services at the local level.”

To read more about the specific solutions posed to the pressing issue of the neglect of Indonesian WSMEs, read the article here.

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JOIN us for our morning wegg™ workshop on September 12th and hosted by Bank of America (135 S. LaSalle Street, 44th Floor).  Julie Smolyansky, President and CEO, Lifeway Foods, will present “Follow Your Gut,” covering:

  • How global factors influence company values and mission
  • Why we should empower women entrepreneurs around the world
  • How to channel inspiration from travel experiences into marketing initiatives

Tickets $40 ($20 for students); includes Continental Breakfast.  To learn more and to register, visit:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/weggtm-workshop-follow-your-gut-presented-by-julie-smolyansky-tickets-48655708534
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Oxfam Helps Woman Start Jalawla, Iraq’s First “Women’s Only” Plant Nursery

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A recent article by Oxfam recounts the inspiring story of Zainab, the first woman in Jalawla, Iraq to sell plants at the town market.

In December 2015, Zainab opened her own plant nursery on the side of her house in Jalawla, Iraq. It was destroyed by ISIS one week later. When she returned to Iraq in 2017, her desire to have her own plant business was still within her. She then ” enrolled in an income-generation project run by Oxfam and funded by the United Nations Development Programme, which distributed $575 grants to 235 people—more than half were women—to relaunch their businesses.” Oxfam’s help has ensured the reestablishment of Zainab’s plant nursery, and it now exists as an agriculture sanctuary for “women only.” On the impact Zainab’s innovative business has had on her community and her personal well-being she says:

“I’m the first and the only woman to open a nursery in [my town]. After the women in Jalawla saw me opening my business, they were encouraged to open their own businesses…When Oxfam told me they would help me reopen my nursery, I became very happy. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Oxfam brought my dream back to me.”

Helping women entrepreneurs, like Zainab, are what organizations like Oxfam and wegg™ exist for. Read more about Zainab’s revolutionary success, and how Oxfam helped make her dreams real, here.

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Why go global?  How do you start?  Where can you find customers?  How do you get paid?  Find out these answers and learn other best-kept secrets to expanding a business globally. 

JOIN us for our first weggchat™ (#weggchat) Wednesday, August 8 from 11:00 a.m. — 12:00 p.m. (noon) Central time on Take Your Business Global! and facilitated by Laurel Delaney, President of WEGG and founder of GlobeTrade.com.  Laurel will field questions and add insights on how to take a business global.  Small business owners can join the conversation by using the hashtag #weggchat to chime in with questions and answers.

Event is free of charge but you must use tchat.io or twubs.com to follow the conversation using the hashtag #weggchat.  See you there!
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Why Are There So Few Women Entrepreneurs in Rwanda?

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A 2014 census report conducted by the National Institute of Statistics in Rwanda,  revealed that only 26.8 percent of sole proprietorship establishments are owned by women, compared to 73.2 percent owned by men.

What are the reasons for this imbalance?

In Donah Mbabazi’s article for “The New Times,” she shares a telling quote from the first Vice Chairperson of the Private Sector Federation Chamber for Women, Sarah Kirenga. Kirenga speaks to the challenges that Rwandan women, and all women, can face when it comes to business:
“The number one challenge women in business face is the fear of failure. Failure is a very real possibility in any business venture, but when it comes to women in business; fear to fail becomes a great concern to growing the business, hence, women are afraid to take up big risks. I believe you need to have massive failure to have massive success, you may need 100 ‘nos’ to get one ‘yes,’ but that one ‘yes’ will make you more successful tomorrow than you were today.”

Further in the article, the CEO of the Rwandan stock exchange, Pierre-Celestin Rwabukumba, cites Rwanda’s social climate as a cause for the lack of female participation in business: “It’s because of the general patriarchal kind of environment we have been living in for decades. Business doesn’t change because it is done in the same society.”

This poses an interesting question: Do social norms surrounding gender equality have to change in order for patterns in business to evolve? Or would change in entrepreneurship affect society? What do you think roadblocks women from achieving their full potential as entrepreneurs? What can women do for themselves to get in the game?

Read Mbabazi’s article, and her account of some solutions to the inequity in Rwandan business, here.

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Why go global?  How do you start?  Where can you find customers?  How do you get paid?  Find out these answers and learn other best-kept secrets to expanding a business globally. 

JOIN us for our first weggchat™ (#weggchat) Wednesday, August 8 from 11:00 a.m. — 12:00 p.m. (noon) Central time on Take Your Business Global! and facilitated by Laurel Delaney, President of WEGG and founder of GlobeTrade.com.  Laurel will field questions and add insights on how to take a business global.  Small business owners can join the conversation by using the hashtag #weggchat to chime in with questions and answers.

Event is free of charge but you must use tchat.io or twubs.com to follow the conversation using the hashtag #weggchat.  See you there!
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WEGG Knows that Women Rule the World

WEGG Knows that Women Rule the World

WEGG knows that women rule the world but did you know that in Nigeria, they also rule the sky?  A Nigerian airline has taken a step to fight for women empowerment. The airline celebrated her first ever all female crew to fly one of her planes.

The airline also used the opportunity to name her first ever female captain simply identified as Sinmisola.

The fight for the empowerment of women began after it was realized that men are treated better than women and the voices of men are valued more than that of women in some parts of the world.

That’s about to change.  Read more how women in Nigeria through a Nigerian airline rule the sky with their first all-female flight crew.

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What is cloud computing?  As an SME, how can you benefit from it?  Find out key growth lessons from more than 50 startup owners using cloud computing. 

Join us for our next WEGGinar™ 7/11/18 on “Intro to Cloud Computing and How It Can Benefit You,” presented by Jayger McGough Tomasino and Carly Kizorek, Technical Evangelists at IBM.  They will give you the scoop on cloud computing, convey how SMEs use it to grow, and even show a demo of IBM Watson services.  Register here.

Event is free of charge but you must register in advance to attend.
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Boosting Women’s Entrepreneurship in Europe

In Europe, women outnumber men but they account for only 22 percent of entrepreneurs.  Why is that?  According to Tiziana Pompei, Deputy Secretary-General of the Italian Chamber of Commerce:

“Women are currently focusing their (entrepreneurial) activities in sectors such as commerce, tourism, farming and personal services,” Pompei explained. “There are still too few companies owned by women but they are on the rise, especially thanks to young women investing in the digital and innovative sectors.”

To boost women’s entrepreneurship in Europe, the following is needed:

  1. Women must push forward on their own because there is an increasing number of women in the EU who are willing to start their own business but don’t.
  2. An increase in innovative sectors such as biotech and digital, that offer women new opportunities to go into business.
  3. Female researchers, where women are the majority, must apply their scientific experience that they gained by working at universities to their startups.

Read more about the importance of supporting women entrepreneurs in Europe.

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What is cloud computing?  As an SME, how can you benefit from it?  Find out key growth lessons from more than 50 startup owners using cloud computing. 

Join us for our next WEGGinar™ 7/11/18 on “Intro to Cloud Computing and How It Can Benefit You,” presented by Jayger McGough Tomasino and Carly Kizorek, Technical Evangelists at IBM.  They will give you the scoop on cloud computing, convey how SMEs use it to grow, and even show a demo of IBM Watson services.  Register here.

Event is free of charge but you must register in advance to attend.
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Top 5 WEGGinars™

If you are located in the United States, it is Memorial Holiday weekend where we honor those who have served our nation.  We thought it would also be a good time to catch up on easy and productive listening to a few fantastic WEGGinars™ we have hosted over the past couple of months, not including the last one. These are based on popularity (e.g., number of listened to recordings).  Here are the top 5:

  1. How a Wicked Road Trip to Minturn, Colorado Inspired a Thriving Global Design Business — presented by Julia Knight, Julia Knight Collection
  2. Go! Go! Global with Sourcing Products — presented by Jodi Norgaard, JB Norgaard Enterprises
  3. Regulations, Conventions, and Battles of the Spirit:  The International Trade of Craft Spirits — presented by Sonat Birnecker Hart, KOVAL Distillery
  4. How Two Savvy Moms Started a Bed Business and Took it Global — presented by Angie White and Betsy Mikesell, Beddy’s
  5. Becoming Your Own Global Distribution Solution — presented by Rebecca Herwick, Global Products, Inc.

Have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day.

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Note:  Did you just bag a customer in Argentina, Ireland or Korea? How do you structure the deal?  Don’t let lack of financing knowledge be the reason you lose the contract.

Join us for our next WEGGinar™ 6/6/18 on “Grow Globally By Offering Competitive Financing Solutions” and presented by Tamara Maxwell, Director, Minority and Women Owned Business & Multiplier Outreach Division, Office of Small Business, Export-Import Bank of the United States.  She will guide you on how to get paid.  Register here.

Event is free of charge but you must register in advance to attend.
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Putting Wind Behind Global Startups

Photo credit: IIM Bangalore

Are you based in India and thinking of starting a business?  StartupWind, Inc., a digital platform for ideation, design thinking, business model canvassing and business planning  — has on-boarded over 6,000 women entrepreneurs across India as a platform partner of IIM Bangalore’s Women Startup Programme that will provide training, mentoring, networking and financial support to budding Indian women entrepreneurs.

The programme is for women of all ages and educational backgrounds who have been thinking about starting a venture and not knowing how to do it.

The IIM Bangalore programme is coupled with the software framework and tools provided by StartupWind to help women entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life.

At WEGG, we hope to partner with StartupWind to serve as a support arm by providing international expansion training to the Indian women entrepreneurs.

Learn more about the exciting program here.

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Note: Don’t miss our next WEGGinar™ 4/4/18 on “How a Wicked Road Trip to Minturn, Colorado Inspired a Thriving Global Design Business” and presented by Julia Knight, founder of Julia Knight Collections. Register here. Event is free of charge but you must register in advance to attend.
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WEGG Mission

Our mission is to educate, inspire and nurture women business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide on how to go global so they can run healthier businesses and create a new future for themselves, their families and their community.


Women Entrepreneurs GROW Global is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. EIN/Tax ID #47-2956522.

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