Five steps to help women entrepreneurs cross the business gender divide
Our aim in the WED team is to help women ‘add value’ to businesses they may already own in essential and female dominated sectors, and to encourage them enter more lucrative sectors, often growth-oriented and male-dominated. We have developed a five-point business upgrading model to help make this happen:
Identify and assess the best sectors where women can establish and grow their businesses. This includes sectors where women already have a significant presence, and those that are traditionally male-dominated, which women can be encouraged to enter. Deliver tailored business support, including entrepreneurship trainings, business continuity management, and soft skills training that cater for women’s and men’s needs. By working with local business support organizations, we ensure that these services sustain and remain available even after projects have ended.
Help business women access markets by working with government and the private sector to promote hiring and purchasing policies that benefit and include women owned and led enterprises; and by helping women entrepreneurs succeed in bidding processes, equipping them with market information, and supporting them to meet standards and requirements.
Make finance easier to access by connecting women entrepreneurs with different financing options, including conventional financial institutions, as well as less conventional financing mechanisms, such as impact investors.
Strengthen women entrepreneurs’ voice and representation by building peer-to-peer support networks, and facilitating their participation in key associations and platforms. Through soft-skills development and strengthened networks, the aim is also to empower and encourage women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and enter and succeed in male-dominated sectors.
On 19th November, we are celebrating Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. It is a day to recognize the achievements of the hundreds of thousands of women business owners in the world. It will also be a time to highlight the issues facing them and the ways they can cross the business gender divide.
By Charleine Mbuyi-Lusamba, Technical Lead, Women’s Entrepreneurship Development