Archive for the 'Culture' Category

Closing the Confidence Gap is Key for Female Entrepreneurial Success

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In a recent Forbes article entitled, “What It Will Take For Women Entrepreneurs To Take Over The World,” author Carrie Kerpen explores what disadvantages women entrepreneurs face in our current market. Kerpen interviews Margaret Donnell, chief marketing officer of Capital One’s Small Business Bank, on how women can subvert the obstacles in their way, in order to succeed. Kerpen’s thesis is: closing the confidence gap between men and women will be a crucial factor in trying to level the entrepreneurial playing field.

Donnell attests the gender pay gap between men and women to be one of the main reasons women business owners are less confident than their male counterparts. She reasons,

“We have pretty clear evidence around us. We’ve seen studies out in media, I certainly have, that document a wage gap between men and women. It means that women don’t always have as much money as men because of that earning power. It also means that their confidence could have been eroded over time, and so I think there’s a lot we can do to lift each other up, and men as allies can lift women up, to help them feel confident and go after getting into business.”

Lacking in confidence can be a hindering quality for any business owner. Not having faith in oneself can lead to a fear of risk. One such risk could be the venture of expanding your SME into a global business, an important move for entrepreneurs.

A potential fear of risk taking is evident in statistics. Kerpen reports,

“…despite feeling more positive about their businesses than their male counterparts, female business owners are more hesitant to take big swings and heavily invest in their companies. According to the same Capital One report, 75 percent of men are likely to hire in the next year, compared to 63 percent of women.”

How do you think women can support and encourage each other to make the bold moves necessary for success in business? How can we increase our confidence to achieve heights greater than we could have ever imagined?

Read several proposed solutions to this issue, in Kerpen’s article, linked 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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Diversity is Correlated with Business Performance

Many people think that if you can build a case on global diversity, things will shift and improve.  That’s not necessarily true.  The reality is that a lot more work needs to be done.

In the interview below with McKinsey’s Rik Kirkland, Harvard Kennedy School professor of public policy Iris Bohnet talks about what is working—and what is not—when it comes to building a more equitable workplace. An edited version of her remarks follows.

Here’s a snippet on one of Kirkland’s remarks relative to diversity and inclusion:

Based on that evidence, maybe we shouldn’t be quite as shocked that diversity training doesn’t have the impact that we were hoping it could have. Because even though you and I might agree now that we will be inclusive tomorrow, it is hard to follow through on those virtuous intentions.

Read more …

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Note: Don’t miss our next WEGGinar™ 6/7/17 on “Go! Go! Global With Sourcing Products,” and presented by Jodi Bondi Norgaard, speaker, consultant and founder of Go! Go! Sports Girls and JB Norgaard Enterprises, Inc.  Register here:  https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/7576894438194026755.
Event is no charge but you must register in advance to attend.

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It’s Time For Women To Take On the World

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The Story Exchange featured this 3-part series on exporting, which is excerpted from Laurel Delaney’s new book, Exporting:  The Definitive Guide to Selling Abroad Profitably.

1.  It’s Time For Women To Take On the World

Having women involved in international trade is good for the global economy.

2.  Resources For Women Business Owners Who Export

Female entrepreneurs face challenges when pursuing business overseas.  This article talks about ways to overcome them.

3.  Why Women Are Particularly Good at Going Global

Female entrepreneurs often bring sensitivity and human connectedness to international business, writes Laurel Delaney.

A big thank you to Colleen DeBaise, Director of Digital Media at The Story Exchange.

Special note to readers … get involved in the research project called “1,000 stories,” which involves The Story Exchange and Babson College.  They are asking all female entrepreneurs to fill out a form and share your startup story.  They will collect the data and publish it on The Story Exchange.  The goal is to understand the needs of women business owners while also giving them media exposure.  Here’s a link to the form:  http://thestoryexchange.org/feature-startup-story/  Start talking!

Illustration credit:  The Story Exchange

Posted by:  Laurel Delaney

Blunders From Around the World

Firms doing business in multilingual societies need to decide what languages to use for communications, product packaging and advertising. Rule of thumb: Go for the simplest of words, express one idea in each sentence and avoid culture-specific references (e.g., he sings like Frank Sinatra).

Below we’ve created a humorous list of gaffes from around the world.  Have a laugh or two but remember:   The  importance of understanding the language of a country cannot be overestimated!

Funny Mistranslations From Around the World

Illustration credit here.

Posted by:  Laurel Delaney

The Difference Between a Burqa and a Niqab and Why It’s Important

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Fascinating piece — worthy of a read to merely understand the difference between a burqa (top) and a niqab (bottom) and the origin of the ‘faceless Muslim woman.’

So why all the fuss, on both sides of this question, about a tiny minority of women who wear odd-looking dress in a country (France) that is the world’s creative headquarters for odd-looking fashion? One explanation is cultural.  In French culture, the eyes are supposed to meet in public, to invite a conversation or just to exchange a visual greeting with a stranger. Among Muslims, the eyes of men and women are not supposed to meet, even by chance, and especially not in public or between strangers.

Read the entire article, “The French, the Veil and the Look.”  And by the way, France is not welcoming the burqa.

Posted by:  Laurel Delaney

Global Feminism At Its Best

See how 50-year old Indian Artisan Kakuben Lalabhai Parmar (pictured far right) is an advocate for women here.

Snippet here:

“I already experienced the biggest change in my life,” she said, speaking a Gujarati dialect through an interpreter, “when I first got the chance to come out of my house and participate in society.”

Ms. Parmar’s moment of liberation came roughly 20 years ago, when the not-for-profit Sewa Project formed a unit in her village to help preserve endangered handicrafts and, equally, to provide the people who make them a form of alternative employment.

Photo credit here.

Posted by:  Laurel Delaney


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