Archive for the 'Culture' Category

Teach a Woman to Fish & Go Global, and You’ll Feed Her & Her Business for a Lifetime

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Everyone knows the classic adage, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”

But wegg® knows, “Give a woman a fish, and you feed her for a day. Teach a woman to fish and go global, and you feed her and her business for a lifetime.” This idea is the essence of wegg®’s mission: “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.”

Our goal as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization is to teach the women entrepreneurs of the world how to take their businesses global, and we are always thrilled to hear about the triumphs of women entrepreneurs around the world. Recently, we read a New York Times article covering the reform of Rwanda’s fishing industry, from an exclusively male world, to a community of women entrepreneurs. Author Shannon Sims describes the change,

“The intense physical work and danger that comes with fishing on Lake Kivu, along with reinforcement from traditional gender roles, kept women from fishing for generations, tending to backyard farms instead. But in post-genocide Rwanda, that seems to be changing. Today, women form an essential part of the national market for Lake Kivu fish. Besides fishing on the lake at night, women also gather along the shores in the early morning to buy the fish the fisherwomen deliver. They then haul those fish home to their small villages, or sell the fish to cooperatives.”

This newfound emphasis of women on the business side of Rwanda’s fish economy has inspired the development of Projet Pêche, a fishing cooperative made up of 87 women, in Kibuye, a town along the banks of Lake Kivu. This collective has had a supremely positive impact on the lives of Rwandan women. Just listen to one woman, Bonifrida Mukabideri’s, account,

“A lot of women have used the cooperatives to fight poverty. Here in Rwanda we now have the idea that women and men can do every job…Now a woman can say: ‘I can build a house by myself. I can look after my family properly. And even if my husband dies, we can live a better life.’”

wegg® would love to help global women entrepreneurs like Mukabideri feed themselves, their families, and their communities for a lifetime…by fostering an expanding global business that thrives for generations. For more information on the resources wegg® has to offer women entrepreneurs, check out our education page.

 

Professor, Author, Thought Leader and wegginar® Presenter: Andy Molinsky

Andy Molinsky

Andy Molinsky is a Professor at Brandeis University’s International Business School. Andy helps people develop the insights and courage necessary to act outside their personal and cultural comfort zones when doing important, but challenging, tasks in work and life. His work has been featured in HBR, the Financial Times, the Boston Globe, NPR and Voice of America.

And here’s the fantastic news:  Andy is presenting our next wegginar 12/5 on “if you are not outside your comfort zone, you won’t learn anything.”

Some of the questions Andy will cover:

  • Is it easy for you to deliver bad news?
  • Do you look forward to speaking in public?
  • Do you enjoy networking?
  • Do you thrill to the idea of throwing out original ideas for criticism?

If you answered no to any of the above, then it is time to get out of your comfort zone and listen to Andy’s 12/5 wegginar.  You will have a chance to be upfront, close and personal with Andy during our wegginar by asking any questions you have for him.

“Andy has a remarkable ability to help managers and individuals navigate cross-cultural relationships. Andy’s work is rooted in the mindset that individuals can adapt and behavior is malleable, which is critical to successful inclusive workplaces.” — Candice Morgan, Head of Diversity, Pinterest

Get ready, get set, and get outside your comfort zone!  We are honored to have Andy present and we will see you there.  Sign-up below.

Registration is open and free for Andy’s 12/5 talk on how, “if you are not outside your comfort zone, you won’t learn anything.” Register here.

Understanding Diversity Among Hispanic Women Entrepreneurs

According to Susana Martinez-Restrepo, PhD., CoreWoman and Geri Stengel, Ventureneer, authors of Hispanic Women Entrepreneurship: Understanding Diversity Among Hispanic Women Entrepreneurs,” the number of Hispanic women-owned businesses is growing at a higher rate than businesses owned by other groups, including non-Hispanic White women and men.

However, businesses owned by women, especially Hispanic women, are underrepresented and dramatically lag behind men-owned businesses in several key business productivity measurements: amount of revenue, having employees and number of employees.

To help Hispanic women-owned businesses prosper, the authors propose the following.

  • Increase Funding to Women’s Business Centers
  • Elevate Awareness of Training and Support Hispanic Women Need
  • Enlarge and Make Permanent the New Markets Tax Credit
  • Lift or Raise Cap on SBA-backed Loans
  • Invest Federal Agency Pension Funds in Emerging Managers

To read the entire report, visit here.

Registration is open and free for our 12/5 talk with Andrew Molinsky, Ph.D. He will talk about how, “if you are not outside your comfort zone, you won’t learn anything.” Register here.

Everything You Need to Know from Our wegginar® with Cristina Bandal

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This past Wednesday, wegg® had the pleasure of hosting the Industry Segment Manager of Retail and Consumer Goods for UPS, Cristina Bandal. Bandal lead one of our free online wegginars®, which provide monthly, accessible education to women entrepreneurs everywhere. Bandal’s talk covered how to overcome the obstacles that people face when trying to sell their products to the global market. She also answered the questions of wegginar® participants. Read their inquiries, and her responses, below:

  1. What’s the single biggest challenge on why people don’t setup an online storefront?  Setting up an international store may sound complicated if you are thinking of creating a country site – but with only a few enhancements, you can make international customers feel at home. 
  2. What are your thoughts on how to factor in taxes, (shipping and duty), to price my products profitably, yet make them affordable to my customers?  With the solution available, your catalogue will provide the information needed to calculate a duty and tax, and offer a landed cost to your customers (and protect you from abandoned goods!)
  3. How does our current trade war with China impact the information presented in this wegginar®?  Whatever tariff regulations are passed are updated to protect the shipments.
  4. Is there a way to target one foreign market when I launch my e-commerce site so that I can test the waters?  YES!!  You can choose what countries to target.
  5. What’s the best way to setup a payment method, in your own currency or the customer’s?  International consumers would like to see their own currency to avoid surprises. By using the UPS i-parcel solution, you are protected by allowing transactions to be processed through UPS, and provide fraud protection.

To read Bandal’s extended answers to these questions, and more, you can view the full presentation (PDF) from the wegginar®, here. wegg® was honored to have Bandal share her experience and knowledge with us.

If you were not able to participate in this month’s wegginar®, we already have registration open for our 12/5 talk with Andrew Molinsky, Ph.D. He will talk about how, “if you are not outside your comfort zone, you won’t learn anything.” Register here.

President and CEO Julie Smolyansky on “Following Your Gut”

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This past Wednesday September 12th, President and CEO of Lifeway Kefir, Julie Smolyansky lead a wegg® workshop about the importance of following your gut on business and personal endeavors. Her inspiring talk covered the journey of Lifeway beginning in her parent’s basement, in the mid-eighties, when they began making Kefir, a food inspired by their home country, the former Soviet Union.  It is now a $120 million publicly-traded company, thanks to Julie. She grew Lifeway to the size it is now, without a business degree, and became CEO at age 27, when her father suddenly passed away. Smolyansky shared the story of how one of her father’s friends reacted when he died and she was made CEO…

“[He said] ‘forget it, the company is done. Sell all of your stock tomorrow. There’s no way a 27 year old girl could run a company.’ This is done. Lifeway is over…I go into the office Monday morning…and everyone had sold their stock….It was devastating…[I] picked my head up and moved forward. Then, we had 70 people, today we have 320. We’ve grown our business from 12 million to 120 million…We continued to execute on the strategy we believed in, and continued to follow our gut, and worked really really hard….That man who said ‘she’s never gonna do it,’…I literally think about him every day. I say ‘thank you’, ‘thank you so much for underestimating me, for pissing me off, and making me angry…You gave me the fuel to move forward.”

Smolyansky went on to describe how being a young CEO became a strength for her. She followed her gut and made Lifeway one of the first businesses ever to have an active social media presence. She explained, “We were ahead of the game…Vogue called us ‘avant garde’ for being on social media.”

She also shared her beliefs on the importance of female entrepreneurship,

“If women were employed at the same rates as men, we know the global GDP would rise exponentially…That I think is really important. A rising tide raises all ships, and when women create jobs, an entire community is more safe and stable….Women are the key to saving the world…Entrepreneurship…can heal the world.”

Other inspiring takeaways from Smolyansky’s talk…

  • Keep moving ahead no matter what your challenges are in life.
  • Make a big impact:  it only takes one person one step at a time to change the world.
  • Follow your gut (we should all listen to our intuition on important matters in life).

Thank you to Julie, and her team, Justine and Maria, for making our on-the-ground wegg® workshop a success.  And thank you to Bank of America, Moji Eagan and Aneta Mazur, for hosting us.

If you were not able to make this wegg® workshop, we are having a wegginar® on Wednesday, October 3rd with Katie Kollhoff, CEO, NUMIX.  She’ll present on “Small Startup, Big Impact.”  Thanks to our sponsors, IBM, UPS, Bank of America and GlobalCare Clinical Trials, the program is no charge but you must register to attend, here.

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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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.

_______________________________________________________

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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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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