Archive for the 'Gender challenges' 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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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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Women Entrepreneurs, the Global Market Needs You

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According to the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, In 2016, 97% of all exporters in the U.S. were small and medium-sized companies. The other statistic from this study that can’t be ignored is that only 12% of businesses that export are owned by women. Why are more women not accessing the vast world that is global business?

In Devishobha Chandramouli’s recent Entrepreneur article, “6 Global Trends Reveal How Women Are Redefining Entrepreneurship,” she reports the ways in which women entrepreneurs are critical to the global market. Within Chandramouli’s findings, WEGG founder, Laurel Delaney, reports on why women are often absent from business at a global level:

“Even in a developed economy, women business owners are less likely to explore and expand their products or services because they think they can’t do it, or that they don’t have access to the right training, education, advisory networks, mentorships and community programs. This perceived deficiency makes it difficult for women to access markets, conduct marketing and establish relationships.”

If women do not believe they are capable of global success, they will not achieve it. The secret is, that women are not only capable of global business, but are also exponentially beneficial to their communities when they have it. Chandramouli notes,

“As globalization is breaking down the barriers that limited businesses by cultures, gender and geography, many partnership and trade agreements have been developed in an attempt to encourage global economic activity among women. Women are known to give back about 90 percent of their earnings to the health and education of their communities and families, contributing to development directly, so it’s easy to see why it is critical.”

Women entrepreneurs, the global market needs you.

You can read Chandramouli’s article here, to learn more about how women have the ability to transform global business, for the better, from within.

_______________________________________________________

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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For Women Entrepreneurs the World is Your Market

by Laurel Delaney, President, Women Entrepreneurs Grow Global (WEGG)

In a manifesto I authored in 2004, “Shaking Things Up. Making Things Happen,” I wrote, “In the future, there will be two kinds of enterprises: those that go global and those that die.” Companies should be going global, and it is the women entrepreneurs who are pushing boundaries and targeting the world for business.

According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Women’s Entrepreneurship Report 2016-2017, “In 2016, an estimated 163 million women were starting or running new businesses in 74 economies around the world. In addition, an estimated 111 million were running established businesses. This not only shows the impact of women entrepreneurs across the globe, but highlights their contributions to the growth and well-being of their societies.”

The report sums up the following on international sales pertaining to women entrepreneurs operating globally.

  • The level of international sales varies dramatically. It is zero or less than 1% in three Latin American countries (Brazil, Guatemala, and Ecuador) and three Asian countries (Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam). However, more than three- fourths of women entrepreneurs in the UAE and over half of women in Saudi Arabia report international sales.

  • In innovation-driven economies, more than one-fifth of women entrepreneurs report 25% or more of sales go to customers outside their economies. This is four times the level of the factor-driven group.

  • Regionally, only 6% of sub-Saharan African women entrepreneurs are internationally oriented, somewhat more than half the level of men. In MENA, 29% of women entrepreneurs are considered international, and at a higher rate than men.

  • North America’s high average [of international sales for women entrepreneurs] is due to Canada, where 32% of women entrepreneurs list at least 25% of sales to international markets. This contrasts with the United States at 9% [hence the reason for organizations such as Chicago-based Women Entrepreneurs Grow Global that support global growth for USA-based women entrepreneurs and business owners].

While I believe that companies must go global, I also recognize that some companies may not lend themselves to that level of production. For example, if you are a mom-and-pop organization making jams and jellies in your kitchen, you could certainly sell a jar or two globally but you might not have the resources, or desire, to compete on a larger scale.

I am a fan of eBay and Amazon for a small-business person selling their wares but I am not a fan of using either platform as a model of going global when it comes to talking about selling a single item to a single customer in a foreign country. True globalization means that an organization is selling a large volume to a wide variety of customers across international borders.

A Website, blog or even a Facebook Page, is a great first step in moving a business out of the local market to the international one. After that, check out governmental resources such as buyusa.gov or export.gov, which both offer myriad information and tips.

You don’t have to do business in your own backyard, because the world is your market. And the technology that we have available to us now is the ramp to launch your business to the next level to boost its performance.

Additional articles and resources available to women entrepreneurs going global:

  1. About WEGG (https://womenentrepreneursgrowglobal.org/about/).
  2. Why Female Entrepreneurs Are the Key to Global Development (https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/girls-twenty/female-entrepreneurs_b_6249784.html).
  3. Women Are Confident in Their Own Businesses and the U.S. Economy, According to the 2014 Sage Business Index (http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/women-are-confident-their-own-businesses-us-economy-according-2014-sage-business-index-1972838.htm)
  4. Women Entrepreneurs Energize Economies (https://www.scribd.com/document/88179690/Enterprising-Women-2012).
  5. Women: Global entrepreneurship is affordable and accessible (https://www.godaddy.com/garage/women-global-entrepreneurship-affordable-accessible/)
  6. 5 Reasons Women are Natural at Going Global (https://www.leader-values.com/article.php?aid=165).
  7. It’s Time for Women To Take on the World (https://thestoryexchange.org/time-women-world/).

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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.  In addition, we have added special experts on this WEGGinar™:  Laura Blodgett, who holds both the corporate Treasury Analyst role and the Accounts Receivable/Credit Administrator role for one of the divisions of Jergens, Inc. and Chantal Wittman, WEGG Board Member and VP of International Trade Sales, International Banking Division, MB Financial.  Register here.

Event is free of charge but you must register in advance to attend.
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Building Confidence in Global Women Entrepreneurs Ensures They Will Thrive in the Business World

As we are fully aware through our work at WEGG, opportunities for women entrepreneurs have been growing globally at a fast pace.  Take India, for example, where the number of women entrepreneurs is mushrooming, but it is very small when compared to the opportunities the market has to offer.

Recently, Mastercard, a technology company in the global payments industry, released the second edition of the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE). Shamina Singh, president, Mastercard Centre for Inclusive Growth, speaks to Jui Dharwadkar [Hindustran Times, Pune] about the findings of this [2nd] index.

Read more here.  And the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE) can be found here.

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Note: Don’t miss our next WEGGinar™ 5/9/18 on “Building Your Global Brand Through Podcasting” and presented by Kathrin Bussmann, Ph.D., founder and principal, Verbaccino. 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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