Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy

Susanne E. Jalbert, Ph.D. March 17, 2000


Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy Table of Contents Preface by Phyllis Bonanno: Women: The Emerging Economic Force Executive Summary Introduction Section 1: Review and Analysis of Current Literature Women Business Owners Women Business Owners Active in NGOs Women’s Participation in the Economy General Literature Section 2: What Women Entrepreneurs Bring to the Global Economy Why Women Start Businesses Female Contributions to the Global Market Barriers Faced by Women Doing International Business A. Credit Barriers B. Technology, Education, Training C. Double Shift, Double Burden Characteristics of Women Entrepreneurs Entrepreneurs Functioning as Role Models Economic Impact of Women Entrepreneurs Section 3: Women’s Business Associations The Impact of Business Associations Role of Women’s Business Associations Role of Women’s Business Associations in Promoting International Trade Section 4: Global Data on the Status of Women Entrepreneurs International Trade Impact An Action Agenda Conclusions References

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Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy Women: The Emerging Economic Force By Phyllis Bonanno

As technology speeds up lives and the new millennium is now upon us, it is useful to take time to reflect on what will surely be one of the driving forces of the global economy of the 21st century. Women are an emerging economic force that policymakers cannot afford to ignore. What are the implications of this for businesswomen throughout the world? How can women’s business associations best channel this potential and maximize it to improve the status of women in the world economy? The world’s modern economy, and in fact democracy, depends on the participation of both sexes. Wouldn’t it be ideal to envision as normal a global international order based on democracy, free enterprise, and international law? Since no such system has ever existed, this system looks utopian, if not naive. However, governments and institutions promoting democratic values make a real difference in women’s business organizations in newly emerging market democracies. In the global economy of the 21st century, international trade will be a key source of economic growth and development. Recent surveys conducted in several countries by the National Foundation of Women Business Owners (NFWBO) indicate that women-owned firms involved in the global marketplace


Women's business associations can and should ensure that their members—large and small—are equipped to reap the rewards of expanding into the international arena. What women’s business organizations (WBOs) can provide may be summed up in three words: access. provide industry information and spotlight trends about what the role of women in national economies can be. are more optimistic about their business prospects and are more focused on business expansion than women-owned firms that are domestically oriented. and advocacy. and a global network of women's business associations can help them do that. However. 4 . Part of this process is to document the economic significance of women-owned enterprises in order to establish a constructive dialogue. Obviously. Information technology can help identify markets. organization. More information about women-owned business enterprises is sorely needed to force policymakers to realize that women are an economic force to be reckoned with. Women must learn how to play the international trade game. it is not clear that smaller enterprises are benefiting from this potential as much as larger firms. expanding into international trade can pay off for women-owned firms.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy have greater revenues.

u Advocacy.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy u Access. WBOs can offer access to contacts for sources of credit. spotlight trends. WBOs can advance women within the business community. u Organization. provide important industry information. and highlight potential niches. CIPE's upcoming June 2000 conference for directors of women's business associations and women entrepreneurs is designed to deliver valuable practical information on how these groups can expand their capacity and better serve the needs of the women's business community worldwide. spur reform of laws. The importance of access to information technology cannot be underestimated. raise the awareness of international 5 . access to training in international trade issues. Information technology can help identify markets. and advocate for them. foster the growth and dynamism of womenowned firms. Advocacy can increase access to education. as well as access to the more basic skills of operations management and marketing. access to mentoring. WBOs can demonstrate how successfully targeted advocacy is critical if women are to overcome the institutional and informal constraints that continue to hamper them in many parts of the world. identify their interests.

6 . advocacy can change attitudes. and an independent international consultant. Most importantly. Phyllis O. Bonanno is a CIPE board member. One thing is certain. Encouraging that realization and helping it take root sooner rather than later must be our major goal for the new millennium. The national business associations and policymakers of the world can no longer ignore the burgeoning power of women in the world economy.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy development organizations. and alert trade negotiators to consciously communicate ramifications of trade pacts.

Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy

Executive Summary

Today’s world is changing at a startling pace. Political and economic transformations seem to be occurring everywhere—as countries convert from command to demand economies, dictatorships move toward democracy, and monarchies build new civil institutions. These changes have created economic opportunities for women who want to own and operate businesses. Today, women in advanced market economies own more than 25% of all businesses1 and women-owned businesses in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America are growing rapidly.2 In some regions of the world, transformation to a market economy threatens to sharpen gender inequality. Some of these changes are simply the legacy of a gender imbalance that existed prior to political and economic reforms. Other changes reflect a return to traditional norms and values that relegated women to a secondary status. As countries become more democratic, gender inequalities lessen; thus, offering a more productive atmosphere for both sexes. This paper examines how women entrepreneurs affect the global economy, why women start businesses, how women’s


Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy business associations promote entrepreneurs, and to what extent women contribute to international trade. Women’s business associations play a vital role in identifying appropriate and/or emerging sectors where women entrepreneurs can succeed. The areas that are likely to take off quickly during a nation’s market revitalization are public relations, transport, delivery, producing and marketing consumer goods, commercial banking, financial services, insurance, and other service-related industries. In this process, women business owners are innovators, job creators, and providers of economic security. As owners of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) women can also supply multinational companies with ideas, inventions, technology, raw materials, supplies, components, and business services. Ultimately, female business owners will be recognized for who they are, what they do, and how significantly they impact the global economy. Change is afoot in the global economy and it is bearing a woman’s face.

National Foundation of Women Business Owners. Women entrepreneurs are a growing trend. 1998. 2 OECD, Women entrepreneurs in small and medium enterprises. 1998. United Nations, Women in a changing global economy: 1994 World survey on the role of women in development. 1995.


Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy Introduction

“Global markets and women are not often used in the same sentence, but increasingly, statistics show that women have economic clout—most visibly as entrepreneurs and most powerfully as consumers.” Irene Natividad, 1998 Summit Director, The Fifth Global Summit of Women and Chair Woman, US National Commission on Working Women1

Worldwide, many women are entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship emerges from an individual’s creative spirit into long-term business ownership, job creation, and economic security. Women bring commitment and integrity because they care about economic empowerment, entrepreneurial development and innovation. Female entrepreneurs seek the professional

and personal support that is found in business associations. Economic globalization has encouraged the expansion of female business ownership. “. . . The growing economic power and influence of women-owned businesses are changing the shape of the global economy,” remarked Sakiko FukudaParr, director of the UN Development Program’s Human Development Report. 2 The global impact of women entrepreneurs is just beginning to gain intensity. Worldwide, the number of female business owners continues to


” Women entrepreneurs are significantly affecting the global economy (see box 1). 26 percent for the Caribbean. in countries where women have been restricted. women produce more than 80 percent of the food for Sub-Saharan Africa.women founded 25% of the businesses since 1978 In Germany . 50-60 percent for Asia. One is the establishment of legal equality for women. regionally. In nations where women have advanced. Box 1. “two changes have occurred over the past 10 years in the enabling environment for women in the economy. the economy has been stagnant.women own 64% of firms employing 10 people or more In China . 34 percent for North Africa and the Middle East. By contrast. For example. A recent United Nations report concluded that economic development is closely related to the advancement of women. According to the 1995 UN survey. and globally. Ownership Facts • • • • • • Women in advanced market economies own more than 25% of all businesses In Japan .women are 25% of the business owners 10 .Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy increase steadily. economic growth has usually been steady.23% of private firms are established by women In Russia .women have created one-third of the new businesses since 1990 representing more than one million jobs In Europe and Newly Independent States Transition Economies . The other is granting women equal access to education and training. and more than 30 percent for Latin America. 3 Female entrepreneurs are active at all levels domestically.

1998. Three factors galvanized the ITC to focus on female entrepreneurship and trade. developing. 1998. 1999. import-substitution policies to outwardlooking.6 trillion in annual sales In Great Britain . small. Jalbert. This has enhanced the visibility of women business owners around the globe. First is the expanding private sector. NFWBO. 1999c. 11 . and generate $3. or transitional. Growth in many countries. where small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are playing an increasingly large role in developing and transitional countries. Evidence suggests a gender dimension to trade development. has been driven by trade. employ 27.women started more than 40% of all businesses since 1990 In Poland . Second is the shift in general economic policy from inward-looking.women own 38% of all businesses (8 million firms).Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy • • • • • • • • In Hungary .5 million people (or 1 in 5 workers). 1992. Carter & Cannon. which the UN’s International Trade Centre (ITC) has addressed.one-third of new businesses are started by women Sources: Estes.women own 38% of all businesses In Mexico .women head one in four firms In Swaziland . Third is that an increasing number of SMEs are female owned and engage in international trade. whether developed. Women in Business-Lesotho.Women are one-fourth of the self-employed sector In the EU . market-oriented strategies.32% of women-owned businesses were started less than 5 years ago In France . and medium enterprises In USA .Women account for about 70% of micro.

the demise of dictatorships such as in Malawi as recently as 1994. Sadat noted. foundations and associations. “The economic effect has yet to be seen. In Eastern Europe. Khotkina’s remarks could easily pertain to other regions of the world as well. . has spurred female entrepreneurial activity. firms. and the process of women setting up small enterprises. a senior researcher at Moscow’s Russian Academy of Sciences Gender Centre. business women are off and running. which began so recently. Mrs. “in the most developed countries. Zoya Khotkina. while those in the less developed ones are taking small steps . is a relatively new concept in many developing and transitional economies. Dr. In the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. A highlight of CIPE’s 1997 conference “Organizing for Success” was Jehan Sadat’s opening address titled Women: Preparing for the Future. and Central Asia the catalyst for entrepreneurship was the end of the Cold War. since there are no statistics on [women entrepreneurs] as yet.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy Entrepreneurship. the act of business ownership and business creation. Russia. Khotkina stated. Dr.” 4 Dr. . is so dynamic that even information a month old is out of date. and there are those who yet realize that they too can enter 12 . trains and consults potential entrepreneurs.

K. today and tomorrow. [On-line]. • To examine how women’s business associations can strengthen women’s position in business and international trade. Verso.com. • To explore the role of women entrepreneurs in a global economy. Zoya. 1999. Jehan. Ibid. 1 2 WomenConnect. Washington. Study: Women impact global market. Conference entitled: Women: Preparing for the Future. Women in the labour market: Yesterday.. C. 1996. The purpose of this paper is the following: • To survey the current literature concerning women business owners. 5 Sadat. 3 Foster. & Blomqvist. H. 13 . DC. 1994. Tisdell.” 5 Khotkina and Sadat concur that female entrepreneurship is catching on with great rapidity. 4 Khotkina. as quoted in Roy.A. Praeger.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy the race.C. Economic development and women in the world community.. 1997.C. and • To indicate areas in need of further research so that our understanding of economic contributions by female enterprise owners is more comprehensive. Center for International Private Enterprise.

1 Director of Research National Foundation for Women Business Owners Material for this paper was gathered through field work (surveys. Women business owners—demographics. characteristics.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy SECTION 1 REVIEW AND ANALYSIS OF CURRENT LITERATURE "Entrepreneurship offers tremendous opportunities for women across the world by opening doors to greater self-sufficiency." Julie R. between one-quarter and one-third of the world’s businesses are owned by women. As their numbers grow and as their businesses prosper. and growth – not only for the women themselves. focus groups. Most of the available literature on women’s business ownership has concentrated on entrepreneurial development in industrialized countries at the national level and within the less developed informal sector. Weeks. and interviews) and through examining the existing published research. self-esteem. The available literature fell into four broad categories. education. Very little is available on the role of women entrepreneurs in a global economy. 1. but also for their families and their employees. they will change the way the world does business. And women are changing the face of business ownership internationally. strengths. and weaknesses 14 .

and women’s business management issues. Women business owners active in non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and their networking activities 3. These topics are expanded upon in Section 2: Women Entrepreneurs in a Global Economy. Women’s participation in developing and transitional economies 4. and techniques. barriers to entering business. barriers. This segment of the paper synthesizes a variety of perspectives based on the general literature about women business owners. Women Business Owners Many people have observed that self-employed women are contributing in significant ways to economic health and competitiveness in countries around the world. The literature review touches upon assets. While specific theories about women entrepreneurs have not been fully developed. Cultural and social traditions play a large role in determining who within a society becomes an entrepreneur. microcredit. theories about business ownership in general are well advanced and accessible. styles. social conditions in some 15 . and economic impact. characteristics.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy 2. feminist perspectives. microenterprises. General literature on poverty alleviation. small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). For example.

For a female business owner. globalization of social and economic environments. achieve job satisfaction. and management. education. legal aspects. An informal sector that operates outside the formal sector is very active in developing and transitional economies. like banking. customs tariffs. bureaucracy. and the informal or marginalized sector.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy societies inhibit women from starting their own businesses. and support systems that can expedite their business pursuits. Men and women entrepreneurs are found in two distinct sectors: the formal or traditional mainstream sector. In order to 16 . OECD’s Bernard Ducheneaut added that the challenges facing women’s businesses are common to all small and mid-sized enterprises. There are even more difficult barriers. and extortion that must be overcome in developing and transitional countries. be creative and economically self-sufficient. Women’s motivations for starting a business are related to their need to be independent. political contacts. attain personal accomplishment and fulfillment. such as financing. marketing. the process of starting and operating a new enterprise can be difficult because often they lack the skills. Informal economic activities and their related incomes and outlays often escape statistical reporting. yet self-employment is an important economic opportunity for women.

Associations in governmental-planned and -controlled systems customarily performed public functions and were not involved in efforts to expand job opportunities in their nations’ private sectors. 2 Why are NGOs important in a developing or transitional economy? Women organize NGOs to overcome isolation. educate. market products and services. Women Business Owners Active in NGOs Literature about women business owners often discusses the supportive role that women’s business associations perform. as the West defines it. is a relatively new concept in many developing economies. The NGO approach. associations in market-based economies have always played a significant role.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy mitigate these marketplace challenges and gain a sense of community. their operations and methodologies have historically differed depending on their existing economic underpinning. Women’s business organizations offer a venue and resources for females seeking to set up a business. and expand their businesses. train. women actively seek out and participate in business associations. achieve goals. 17 . not only in shaping investment and performance decisions for free enterprises. published by the Center for International Private Enterprise. A recent handbook. In contrast. Andrina Lever. promote one another’s interests. notes: Though associations are not new phenomena in most parts of the world. but also in determining public policy decisions affecting private business interests. gain support.

2. role models. Women’s Participation in the Economy Unemployment and underemployment looms large for women in the Newly Independent States (NIS) and Central and Eastern Europe. training. support. growth challenges. noted “It is a source of considerable comfort to know that you are not the first or only person to have ever experienced cash flow problems.. markets. influence on policymakers. Gail Lapidus delineated three features of the former communist system (which generally apply to other regions) that deserve emphasis for their role in shaping women’s economic position: 1. 18 . balancing family. Female occupational choices are profoundly influenced by men’s authority. information. perhaps the key one is that they provide a collective voice to advocate for public policies that benefit members. and career obligations or just being overwhelmed. While NGOs are important for many reasons. Women must overcome sexual stereotyping of occupations which is sustained by governmental policies and societal attitudes.” 3 NGOs are vitally important to the health of budding enterprises and can help women achieve access to the building blocks of a successful business—finance.. and mentors.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy President of Women Entrepreneurs of Canada.

and training issues tend to overlap so much that singling out one is difficult. to assume household responsibilities. Four subjects were completely intertwined: poverty alleviation. One recurrent theme is women’s difficulty in obtaining credit as a key stumbling block to starting a business. General Literature The fourth category of literature was the most difficult to review and synthesize primarily because of its sheer volume and diversity. feminist perspectives. or that a weaver 19 .Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy Women who pursued demanding careers encountered subtle but widespread societal prejudices. Topics concerning poverty alleviation. microcredit. culturally and at times legislatively. they are subject to a double-shift burden. microenterprise. 3. microcredit. Because women are expected. barriers to entering business. microenterprise. The literature concerning poverty alleviation cited numerous cases where microcredit significantly improved the well-being of women and their families. organizational and/or enterprise structure. business management. and barriers to entering business. “Why is it assumed that a streetseller must grow into a restaurant to be worthy of credit.

The literature indicates that feminist or anti-feminist perspectives. The shape. micro-finance. cultural and social spheres. and perception of the current global entrepreneurial movement cannot be understood without directly observing. growth. and training/re-training issues are hurdles as well. and market expansion as opposed to microenterprises that focus on family subsistence.” 5 There is a discernible difference between large free-market enterprises that focus on profitmaking. . small and mediumscale enterprise projects support a variety of enterprises in all sectors including manufacturing.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy of fine fabrics must start employing up to five helpers to be considered a success?” 4 Credit is not the only barrier to entering business. trade and service . The literature review revealed how women entrepreneurs affect and are affecting political. understanding organizational structures. scope. management skills. 20 . . While it has become easier to find information about poverty alleviation. microenterprise. micro. and interviewing women entrepreneurs at work. Setting up microenterprises. economic. surveying. small and medium-sized enterprises in both formal and informal economic sectors is now being proposed as a way to achieve sustainable socio-economic development and eliminate poverty. “Where the poor and unemployed are clustered.

1995. 1. and training issues.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy barriers to entering business. statistically accurate. 3 Lever. enterprise structure. 1996. p. p.31. 4 Tinker. Women’s business organizations: the hidden strengths and potential. Julie. 11. Center for International Private Enterprise. 1997. 1 2 Weeks. L. and timely data. 21 . Milner. Women in micro.and small-scale development. Andrina. Personal communication. Business associations for the 21st century. Economic reform today. I. Westview Press. 1997. 5 Creevey. The world will never know the true impact of women entrepreneurs upon the global economy or a country’s economy without nationally gathered. Larry S. 4. a blueprint for the future. 2000. business management. One specific suggestion is to incorporate gender categories when collecting data on SMEs. the crucial missing link is basic information about women business-owners. p. IT Publications. Changing women’s lives and work. p.

The defining feature of entrepreneurship in today’s global economy is the focus on change in women’s lives. increased opportunity for education and training. recognition. Globally. and that they expect the corresponding respect. evidence is mounting that business ownership by women is on the rise. power to affect decisions in their communities. entrepreneurship among women has passed the test of time. Minerals Marketing Corporation1 In the United States. Hong Kong.” Liz Chitiga. survived and grown significantly the past three decades. Buttner suggest that women started their own businesses from a desire for self-determination and for career challenge. South Africa. Why Women Start Businesses D. particularly for political and economic empowerment that translates into access to financial resources. P. and London. in fact.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy SECTION 2 WHAT WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS BRING TO THE GLOBAL ECONOMY “More women than men in this country know where there is a market in places as far as Mauritius. and autonomy in personal life choices. Moore and E. H. Chief Executive. It has. and self- 22 .

Desperate to put food on the table for their children. dismal economic conditions. high unemployment rates. These diverse circumstances prompt individual entrepreneurs to modify their personal living conditions. and divorce catapult women into entrepreneurial activities. Around the world. Becoming an entrepreneur is an evolution of encountering. But in spite of many obstacles. When the issue of entrepreneurship is at stake. there are those who yet realize that they too can enter the race. economical. 23 . social. situations. assessing. Some constraints are obvious. and reacting to a series of experiences. Primarily. women somehow find a way to engage in entrepreneurial activities. others are disguised in patriarchal heritage within cultures that preclude female entrepreneurship. and cultural change. women are defying societal norms in order to survive. and events produced by political. Women who own and operate a business are not a homogeneous group. entrepreneurship is a survival instinct that motivates women to start a business. Cultural and social patterns prescribe whether a woman can become an entrepreneur within her society or not.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy esteem that both self-determination and challenge provide. Entrepreneurship is a highly personal. subjective process. As Jehan Sadat said referring to business ownership.

Weeks. the process of starting and operating a new enterprise can be tremendously difficult in both the formal and informal sector because she often lacks the skills. to be fiscally conservative.” For the woman entrepreneur. Although women’s efforts may be thwarted in many ways “entrepreneurship among women is a vibrant and growing trend internationally. Female entrepreneurs have demonstrated the ability to build and maintain long-term relationships and networks. Female enterprises tend to center on the delivery of services responding to 24 . and to promote sensitivity to cultural differences.2 Today female business owners are making significant contributions to global economic health. national competitiveness. Studies indicate that women business owners create a clear culture of their own. to organize efficiently.” noted NFWBO Director of Research Julie R. to communicate effectively. education. Women’s enterprises are qualitatively different from men’s. and community commerce. and societal support system to facilitate her efforts. to be aware of the needs of their environment. Female Contributions to the Global Market Women business owners bring many assets to the global market.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy the question should not be a matter of “can she” or “why does she” but “how does she” and “where can she go for help.

Mexico. and Latin-and Iber-American countries. acquiring state-of-the art technology. cultural. Other impediments for women are societal. developing marketing and management skills. Russia. Ireland. Author Sally Helgesen commented that women managers liberally seek information. the uppermost business concerns are making profits. 25 . and let information crystallize before making a final decision. Brazil. exchange ideas with others. and devising suitable business strategies to thrive in globalized social and economic environments. and lack of access to international networks. Women entrepreneurs show a tremendous willingness to seek business guidance and education to compensate for perceived weaknesses. Barriers Faced by Women Doing International Business Obstacles that women face in international business include limited international business experience. and religious attitudes. hiring and keeping qualified employees. In reviewing the NFWBO 1998 surveys from Argentina. inadequate business education. securing adequate credit. In revitalizing economies they may also face intractable infrastructure problems. Challenges common to all enterprises include securing funding. complying with government laws and policies. obtaining business management training.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy traditionally unsatisfied needs.

given the relatively high handling costs. In fact. and 47% cite lack of capital as the greatest barrier to business growth. SMEs. they tend to start small firms. These obstacles parallel concerns of women business owners in the US. Credit Barriers The importance of access to credit is identified as a major barrier to entry into self-employment throughout the world. Canada. with the result that institutionalized banking practices remain. Women in particular tend to seek small personal loans because. and corruption. collateral. and fair lending terms. for the most part. and Britain. Other researchers in developing and transitional economies point out the problems of gender discrimination under patriarchal traditions. The banking world has thus far shown little interest in small loans or microcredits.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy and improving the overall state of the economy. in general. Women setting up microenterprises. or formal large-scale businesses all encounter varying degrees of difficulty in obtaining capital. 41% of entrepreneurs report that lack of money is the greatest obstacle to starting a business. double-shift syndrome. 26 . according to a study by Peggy Clark and Amy Kays. rigidly opposed to microcredit concepts.

they did not think their account managers were easy to talk to. existing banks. Banks. are inclined toward low-risk ventures. This constitutes another obstacle to female entrepreneurship. and alliances such as the International Coalition on Women and Credit. and Norwest loan officers indicate that profit margins are too narrow for traditional banks to enter the microcredit market. reaching some 8 million people. and they perceived that bank employees discriminated against women. Women were more likely to observe that they were not given due respect by financial institutions. The popularity of the microcredit strategy propelled a global movement toward making micro-loans available to people all over the world. NationsBank. NGOs. SEWA (India). not surprisingly. On the positive side.000 worldwide by 1998. Women’s World Bank. Key Bank. Accion International (USA).Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy Conversations with Bank of America. VOICE (Africa) and many others promoted the idea of microcredit microenterprises in policy circles. The 1997 Microcredit Summit was a high point in mainstreaming the 27 . Advocacy groups. Bankers’ pessimistic view of women’s creditworthiness fosters a reluctance to grant credits. RESULTS Education Fund (USA). the number of groups offering microenterprise credit had grown to an estimated 3. FINCA (USA). Grameen Bank (Bangladesh). they reported that they were not made to feel comfortable by financial institutions. however.

000. Box 2. Counts. especially the women of those families by the year 2005. and training issues are tightly interwoven and can prevent women entrepreneurs from 28 . Technology. USA based Accion International disbursed 270. Education. Shawa. women obtained 38% of EBRD Small Business Fund loans and women represent 35% of the entrepreneurs purchasing newly privatized land parcels. In Bangladesh. women make up 30% of the borrowers at the Microfinance Bank of Georgia with an average loan size of $7. 1999. In Malawi. education.”3 Increasingly. 1997.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy microcredit approach by bringing together leaders of governments and development organizations. the Microcredit Summit launched its “global campaign to reach 100 million of the world’s poorest families. Credit Programs • • In Georgia. Estes. In Ukraine. In 1997. development agencies including USAID and the UN are making microenterprise programs part of their tool chest (see box 2). a microfinance regulatory framework and strategy were launched in 1998.000 loans to entrepreneurs in 14 countries disbursing $330 million with a payback rate of 98%. 1996. Grameen Bank reports a loan repayment rate of 95-98% from women entrepreneurs. 1999. Technology. • • • Sources: Accion International. Training Creating educational tactics for improving technical skills is fundamental for entrepreneurial growth.

particularly through education programs. mentioned in a 1995 address to the Bank’s Board of Governors.”5 The focus these days should be on technology. Training is the essential component for producing an able corps of entrepreneurs who not only survive but thrive and contribute to the local. According to a survey of Russian women entrepreneurs. technical training. The World Bank President. management. In fact. Skill-based training. is especially valuable in developing and transitional economies where business and managerial skills are often completely lacking. women business owners strongly desire training.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy reaching their profitability potential. the global economy. and training.”4 Secretary Madeline Albright echoed Wolfensohn. as the main agents for change in their families and communities. education. James Wolfensohn. in other words. is the principal engine of social and economic progress. it is the smart thing to do. “focusing on women is not simply the right thing to do. technology training. the survey noted that 59% specifically asked for 29 . and delivery of management skills are necessary to strengthen not only entrepreneurs. We have seen the power of the contributions of women. but also associations. and ultimately. Technical assistance. and technical assistance. “we have learned that investing in people.

is difficult for a woman in any country. and related business topics. marketing. Women worldwide recognize that they cannot grow without the right tools.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy training in finance. Brazil. Mexico. and Canada reflect strikingly similar percentages. they [bear] the double load of full-time work and all domestic responsibilities. NFWBO’s surveys of women entrepreneurs in Argentina. Ireland. As a consequence. Yet. double burden” stems from patriarchal traditions that are still followed in the majority of the world’s countries. Latin and IberAmerican countries. Interestingly. but it is doubly taxing for a woman in a developing or transitional economy where poverty and lack of infrastructure can make the most basic tasks harder and more time-consuming.” 6 In many ways the “double shift. 30 . Yet. what choice do women have? Goscilo said society “exhorted women to be both producers and reproducers. one at work and one at home. change is happening as countries modernize and integrate with the global economy. Double Burden The combination of two jobs. Double Shift.

high energy level. as the former head of the Red Cross. married. focus was key for “the management of inner resources. One of the qualities that women business owners cite as key to their success is the ability to focus intensely. Researchers contend that women business owners possess certain specific characteristics that promote their creativity and generate new ideas and ways of doing things (see box below). personal motivations. and supplied relief to victims of more than 60. and in managing relationships. Box 3. social adroitness. They also exhibit a high internal locus of control and achievement. revenues of $2. Elizabeth Dole managed 1.000 natural and man-made disasters each year. Characteristic Tendencies of Women Business Owners Risk-taking propensity.” Other women business owners also cited 31 .3 million volunteers. According to Dole. self-employed father. focus.l billion. first born. competence in finance. interpersonal skills. For example authors Neff and Citrin note. one of the world’s largest NGOs.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy Characteristics of Women Entrepreneurs Woman entrepreneurs tend to be highly motivated and self-directed. general business management skills.

Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy focus as a principal characteristic enhancing their successes. As revealed in interviews and discussions. 3) consensus building competencies. Russia. 2) intuitive people skills. and 4) nurturing. In sum. Entrepreneurs Functioning as Role Models For some entrepreneurs. Mentors included business men and women. and an occasional consultant. women entrepreneurs share these characteristics: 1) sharp communication skills. 7 What Caminiti means is that there is benefit to being mentored and to being a 32 . and Scandinavia by Kauppinen-Toropainen (1993) and by interviews conducted by Neff and Citrin (1999). Women business owners’ opinions are supported by a comparative study in Estonia. role models and mentors played a key role in carving out paths for them to follow. integrating abilities. more often they were admired and respected members of NGOs. women with a high public profile. some role models were historic figures or fictional characters who overcame adversity. family members.” remarked author Susan Caminiti. Women need to use all these skills as they strive to make appropriate decisions for their families and for themselves. “Women are changing the conventional role of mentoring at a time when the practice is enjoying a rebirth.

known as the Women’s Indicators and Statistical Data Base (WISTAT). Association members. economic empowerment. community trainers. She professes that human nature dictates a propensity for giving advice and that doing so is an ego payoff for all the years spent acquiring know-how. and foreign consultants are acting as role models by instructing women.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy mentor. WISTAT titles the category “employers 33 . but also by modeling professional behavior and demonstrating how to broaden one’s outlook. Mentors often view mentoring as a responsibility. from which one can extrapolate the general number of women entrepreneurs. a way of ensuring entry for the next generation of women. Within women’s business associations. and advocacy techniques combine with the more humanistic skills of fostering mutual respect. improving ethical standards. business management. not only on the technical issues of starting a business. and improving health in order to equip female entrepreneurs to succeed in a competitive business environment. Economic Impact of Women Entrepreneurs What is the real economic impact of women entrepreneurs? How many women-owned businesses are there in the world? While no exact data are available on the number of entrepreneurs. there is a worldwide pool of economically active persons.

The two charts present an interesting similarity evidencing the growth of women’s business ownership in five regions (chart 1) and in 19 34 . 1970 35 16 67 22 22 26 1980 50 9 47 33 37 39 1990 50 22 56 48 38 40 Data from the OECD in 1998 parallel available figures from the UN.” but the category could be termed as well as selfemployed or business owners.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy and own-account workers. 197090 (number of women per 100 men) Region Africa Asia and the Pacific Eastern Europe Latin America and the Caribbean Western Europe and other World Source: UN. Chart 1 . 1995. The number of women to 100 men in each region is represented for three decades spanning 1970 to 1990. The category describes those who are economically independent and who could be entrepreneurs (see chart 1).Ratio of women to men of total business owners by region. Chart 2 shows the proportion of women business owners in selected OECD countries.

women are advancing as major actors in entrepreneurial activities. Although largely absent from the decision-making positions in multinational corporations. then there is no end in sight. It is important to note that the gap between men and women business owners has narrowed significantly. but by 1990 women numbered 40 for each 100 men who were selfemployed during the periods indicated below.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy individual countries (chart 2). 35 . The growth of women entrepreneurs in many countries has been driven by international trade. and if the global boom predictions are to be believed. In 1970 women numbered 26 for each 100 men.

7 41.3 30.53 n. n. 23.13 0.50 0.3 1996 32.29 n. 25.a.7 27.19 0.69 n.86 n.5 27.2 n.7 32.7 30. 24. n.3 n. 34.7 25.1 30.a.0 28.6 n. 21. n.a.77 -0. n.37 n.a. 1998 1976 26.a.9 5.59 36 .64 0.13 -0. -0.a.03 n.0 n.2 n.9 n.8 28.37 n.a.61 0. n.a.a.7 23. 36.9 n.9 1986 30. 0.a.9 19.a 0.a.3 30.4 35.a.4 n. 22.a.14 0. 0.a.1 26. 0. 0.8 34.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy Chart 2 . n.6 39. -0.6 27. 0.9 28.56 0.a.4 n.7 36.Percent of women employers to total self-employed in selected OECD countries (excluding farm sector and family workers) Country Australia Belgium Canada Czech Republic Finland Germany Greece Hungary Italy Japan Korea Mexico Norway Poland Spain Sweden Turkey United Kingdom United States Source: OECD. -0.29 -0.2 22. n.a.4 30.a.a.7 33.a.a.3 18.49 0. 26. n. 23.4 33. Annual % Change 1976-86 1986-96 0.0 26.2 30.8 31. -0.a.14 -0.01 n.20 n.a.05 n.a. 27.a.4 n.a.2 Avg.47 0.a.6 16.a.

Ciru & Chipika. 1997. Straight talk. 33 percent in North America. p. Susan. it is apparent that women’s entrepreneurship has grown significantly in the past decades. Working woman. The increasing percentages reveal that women business owners are decidedly the new economic actors. 7 Caminiti. OECD. Canadian research shows a 172% increase in the number of self-employed women between 1975 and 1990. 5 Blackman. 1 Getecha. New directions and new partnerships. Women in a changing global economy: 1994 world survey n the role of women in development. p. Ann. 1995. 37 . 10 percent of the new enterprises in North Africa. 1997. 1998. H. 2 National Foundation for Women Business Owners. and 40 percent the former German Democratic Republic states were started by women. 1995. Women entrepreneurs are a growing international trend. UN.1. Jesimen. 8. University of Michigan Press. 4 Wolfensohn. Scribner. 8 UN. 1995. 3 Micro Credit Summit Draft Declaration. World Bank. and other studies. Seasons of her life: A biography of Madeleine Korbel Albright. John D. 1995. 1999. Dehexing sex: Russian womanhood during and after glasnost. In fact. 8 The OECD in 1998 estimated that 75 to 80% of new enterprises in the United States are created by women. 6 Goscilo. Various national estimates indicate surprisingly high regional increases of women entrepreneurs. Zimbabwe women’s voices.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy As demonstrated by NFWBO. Zimbabwe Women’s Resource Centre and Network.

Governments can more effectively work with associations of women entrepreneurs. Global Enterprise Group Voluntary organizations are an important agent in the process of economic empowerment of women. Now. women’s business associations need to erect and implement their own agendas for increased economic protection. The following section highlights women’s business associations that have garnered national success.” Virginia Littlejohn1 President. the expected purposes of women’s business associations. 38 . but basically buying and tying pre-existing resources. and the role of women’s businesses associations in international trade. so that they are not re-inventing the wheel. Women’s grassroots organizations have played a valuable role throughout the world in improving the socioeconomic status of their members and attempting to lessen gender-based discrimination against them. women entrepreneurs do not use the existing networks or the existing resources.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy SECTION 3 WOMEN’S BUSINESS ASSOCIATIONS “In many countries.

these associations have made their members’ visions and priorities a part of the national political and economic agenda. In Russia’s transition economy numerous women's business associations have taken root. Petersburg Institute for International Entrepreneurship Development. the St. With the advent of a market economy. Perm Business Women's Club. One of the strongest associations is the Union of Russian Women. A vital link to economic decision-making processes. Business and Professional Women. Around the globe many more organizations are contributing in similar ways. and so many more. Approximately 700 women’s business organizations are registered in the US alone.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy The Impact of Business Associations Women’s business associations are increasing steadily in developed. Archangelsk Women Entrepreneurs. the Union has a history of acknowledging the contributions of working women. Long established. such as the Novgorod Women’s Parliament. Novosibirsk Association of Women Entrepreneurs. and National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). and transitional countries. representing over 8 million women-owned businesses. developing. including the Alliance of American and Russian Women. There are also affiliates to several US-based business organizations. 39 . the Union is providing training and individual support for entrepreneurial women.

WEAN assembled a network to enable women business owners from all regions of Nepal to meet. NABW is a multifaceted NGO that encourages and promotes women business owners through advocacy. the National Association of Business Women (NABW). and help each other discover their own potential and capabilities. WEAN is an autonomous association formed for. its membership has reached about 15. which became a democracy in 1994. NABW’s principal goal is to improve the economic status of Malawian women through developing programs that promote and expand productivity and profitability of women-owned businesses thereby increasing employment opportunities for women. exchange expertise. Her goal. Registered in 1990. and by. distribute information. In Nepal. and microcredit loans. led by the visionary Joyce Banda. business and technical skills training. WEAN’s mission of empowering women through entrepreneurship evolved under Yangzi Sherpa. the Women Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal (WEAN) is a decade old. struggling years.000 people by 1999.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy In Malawi. Founded in 1990. and 40 . provides a voice for women entrepreneurs. its founding president who led WEAN for eight eventful. Nepalese women entrepreneurs with the goal of drawing and encouraging them to work toward excellence in their businesses.

these networks expand.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy that of her cofounders—Rita Thapa. Nilam Panday—was to build an organization on a solid institutional base with clear legal validity. Associations in Brazil. Mexico. Typically. In many countries there is still some resistance to joining organizations and other networks. Renchin Yonjan. Nepal. Russia. Associations provide the moral and psychological advocacy required to start a small business by creating a safe and growth-oriented atmosphere that is ideal for incubating new businesses. including technical training and business skills. as women watch one another. learn from one another. the United Kingdom. Women’s business associations are especially well-placed to offer training in fields where women have expressed special interest. Canada. However. women who are surveyed report that mutual support is the primary reason they decide to join business associations. Malawi. and many other countries have provided a strong voice and vision for their entrepreneurial members. and communicate more freely. Ireland. One legacy of the Soviet period is an antipathy toward collective actions and organizations—after years of being pushed and prodded into collectivism by the Communist Party people resist efforts to persuade them to join associations. 41 .

technical and technology training. legal assistance. in addition to credit. Partners in these new social pacts should build on the survival strategies devised by grassroots associations. addressing country-wide problems such as hunger and lack of health care. the increasing contact between associations and other institutions can help create a commanding web of alliances dedicated to the political and economic empowerment of women. employment creation. specialize in providing microcredit. The New York-based Women’s World Bank offers business training and credit. Since associations encourage solidarity and collective action between the groups they help organize and among the members who join. and some social welfare programs. education. Others. and business resources. such as NABW in Malawi and Nepal’s WEAN. take a more holistic approach. Grassroots tactics have proved successful in many regions: in poor women’s cooperatives. business skills training. psychological counseling. and in associated movements 42 . Some organizations.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy Role of Women’s Business Associations Associations cover a wide spectrum of activities encompassing credit. marketing services. in businesswomen’s organizations. like the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh.

an international writer on workplace issues based in US. and a key to building a civil society. 43 . Lee believes that women are be most likely to meet those who can demonstrate and coach powerful business techniques only in male-dominated organizations. In addition business associations provide a system of bonding. The bond of being a woman business owner supersedes the cultural differences. executive director of NFWBO asserted. has written persuasively that women should join only mainstream chamber or business groups. Billie Lee.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy There has long been an argument whether women should join a maledominated organization such as trade associations or chambers of commerce. Lee asks. “Women certainly do seek out opportunities to assist other women” Sharon Hadary. “Why splinter off and declare that you are women first. Creating and growing women’s not-for-profit organizations is a way of exercising freedom. it ignores the fact that in many societies. one can demonstrate economic clout and force larger organizations and governments to pay attention to a specific cause. By forming and joining an association. women’s ability in gaining access to mainstream organizations is limited.” 3 Without women’s business organizations. “So many of the issues and problems are the same. business people second?” 2 While Lee’s question is logical.

industry sector information. “Isolation is a dream killer. they indicated that training in international trade would be extremely valuable for their women’s business associations. The Zimbabwean entrepreneurs readily admitted that they were unprepared to dive into the global arena. all participants expressed eagerness about the possibility of entering the international trade arena. Further. However. yet only five of twenty-seven surveyed reported engaging in international activity. This points again to the need for more gender disaggregated data for the purposes of measuring national and international economic activity. linkages to networks. NFWBO5 research on the involvement of women business owners in trade showed the following percentages: 38% in Ireland.” 4 and it is most certainly a business killer as well. and may not be indicative of the country as a whole. Role of Women’s Business Associations in Promoting International Trade In a recent focus group held for women entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe. and technological equipment and training. 21% in Mexico.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy entrepreneurs say they feel isolated. 25% in Brazil. They wanted more marketing analysis. 44 . 30% in Canada. these surveys are based on women attending conferences. and 13% in the US.

“I don't think our associations right now have the funding or the capabilities of [experts] to impart knowledge. entrepreneurs responded with a broad array of suggestions. Global surveys reveal strong opinions from women entrepreneurs on what their associations should do to help grow their businesses. • Technology (members need hardware.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy Training topics that held the greatest appeal were globalization. export promotion. and training. The main concern was how to convert an initial short-term training program offered by international consultants into a long-term association service program for members. import rules. When asked what kind of specific assistance they wanted their associations to supply. the most frequent request is access to the Internet) 45 . This issue leads directly to what can be done to strengthen not only women’s business associations in Africa. Most participants indicated that they needed some form of assistance. As Mary Banda from Mozambique. as listed below. and foreign direct investment as related to joint ventures. said. Who would train members after an inaugural training program was concluded by an expert?” None of the participants felt that the local women’s business associations had enough expertise to implement a training program in international trade. but also other associations globally. software.

partner identification. the role of women’s business associations in every region of the world should be to prepare aggressively and meticulously their members for future participation in the 46 . strategic alliance identification • • • • • • • • Negotiation assistance Industry information. finance counseling Mentoring and professional peer counseling Skill development in operations.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy • • • • International trade training International linkages via trade shows and trade missions Business plan development Market identification. technological advancements outpacing current technology now used within one’s business. letters of credit. To combat these obstacles. trends. and marketing Advocacy (understanding what it is and how to implement it) Legislative pressure techniques Policymaking assistance The major threats that women entrepreneurs face in the global marketplace are competition from foreign products arising from trade liberalization. niches Contacts for sources of credit. management. and insufficient skills to conduct business in the global marketplace.

1998. Wishcraft: How to get what you really want. 5 NFWBO. 4 Sher. Country studies (see references). Ballantine. 1996. Virginia. Women’s groups still don’t understand power. as quoted from OECD. Barbara. Judy. San Diego business journal. 7a. 1995. p. 47 . 3 Chun. 1998. 1 Littlejohn. Equal access: women business owners find their place in the world. Women entrepreneurs in small and medium enterprises. Billie.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy global economy by providing access to intensive training on how to shape niche markets and develop agile and innovative interactive marketing skills. Entrepreneur 23. 2 Lee. 1979.

Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy SECTION 4 GLOBAL DATA ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS “Economic issues and trade will be the principal diplomatic mediums of the 21st century. current analytical and statistical data about women entrepreneurs involved in international trade. Of the women surveyed. However. predictions for the future. nearly half of those surveyed who were not yet involved in trade say they planned to do so within the next three years. International Trade Impact According to the UN Development Program’s Human Development Report. about half became involved only within the past year. and a summary.” Charlene Barshefsky Chief US Trade Negotiator1 This section addresses four topics: women business owners’ impact on international trade. Moreover. accurate data about the number of women entrepreneurs involved in international business are sketchy at best. 48 . a survey showed that four out of ten women business leaders are currently involved in the international marketplace.

Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy Box 4. The suggestions below are based on best practices that have proven successful for female entrepreneurs and their business associations. International Trade Facts • • • • Ireland . and 3) policy and institutional level to systematize governmental efforts.38% of women surveyed are involved in international trade Canada . Statistical Data Gathering The consistent lack of data about women entrepreneurs is a barrier not only because women are undercounted but also because they are not taken into account when public policies are formulated. Analysis.21% of women surveyed are involved in international trade Sources: NFWBO.25 % of women surveyed are involved in international trade Mexico . the UN International Trade Center’s (ITC) Women in Trade Development Program defined three areas where intervention is needed: 1) grassroots level as an individual entrepreneur. 2) operational level in cooperation with women’s business associations. Research. 1. 1998 An Action Agenda To promote women entrepreneurs. There are five broad categories. WIIT.30% of women surveyed are involved in international trade Brazil . 49 . 1998.

in all sectors. Education. Technology.Compile local and national directories on women entrepreneurs at all levels (micro. then generate the supporting training structures and/or partnerships to expand businesses and overcome obstacles.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy ACTION .NAWBO’s local. 2. Training Provide management. medium-sized. ACTION . and include international trade activity. With highspeed technology blurring an entrepreneur’s market edge. education. Examples . and training needs. 50 . further.Survey women entrepreneurs through existing associations to establish a baseline for technology. business planning. Ducheneaut at OECD remarked that women running SMEs are quite frequently handicapped by lack of management training. Every country report NFWBO compiled indicated that training was a top concern for women business owners. and national directories. he criticized higher education for not sufficiently emphasizing SMEs. and technical assistance to women entrepreneurs. marketing. technology. and large). small. state. technology skills and business ownership education must be made available and constantly updated.

Examples . assess transferability and adaptability. Access to Credit A major impediment to starting and later expanding a business is finance. Access to credit for women can be improved by linking women’s business associations’ awareness campaigns and public policy platforms to government and institutional policies. 3. and explain the common problems women experience in obtaining credit. lobby. Organize.New Opportunities for Women provided by the European Commission to promote women’s enterprise creation and strengthen existing enterprises through specialized training programs. and campaign for funds that women’s business associations can disburse to members.African Development Bank has listened to the requests of women’s associations. Research credit schemes that have worked in other countries that would be applicable to your community.Identify. define. ACTION . It now has a “Women in Development” division advising the Bank. United Republic of Tanzania set up the Small Industries Development Organization which has established a women’s desk that surveys the needs 51 .Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy Examples .

Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy of female entrepreneurs and designs programs to assist them in obtaining loans. investment. ACTION . and direct lobby pressure upon legislators to change laws that are discriminatory toward women entrepreneurs. challenges. In just two years loans increased from 35 to 129. Working Women’s Forum 52 . Example . taxes. and problems into legitimate policy papers.Turn the obstacles.The South African National Congress’ Land Manifesto specifically mentions equal rights in all land-related issues. media targeting. and procurement procedures. labor regulations. property rights. The manifesto has been taken to task collectively by South African women’s business associations who are monitoring its appropriate application after decades of abusing women’s land rights. Advocate using public forums. commercial transactions. 4. The Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA). Legal Issues Prescribing necessary policies and institutional reforms to improve the business environment facing women entrepreneurs is tied into the regulatory and legal framework governing competition. contractual laws. Enforcing women’s rights to land has always been difficult in India.

CA with connections to venture capital. • Technology transfer . Mahila Mangal Dal (MMD). underscoring the close relationship between economic and social oppression. 5. In this last section.WEAN in Nepal offers a substantial number of training packages. • Training and credit .Ukrainian business women’s association. savings programs. a fully staffed retail cooperative. advocacy initiatives.Malawi’s NABW designed an advocacy program to improve the economic status of Malawian women. and a formal credit 53 . Association Leadership Business women’s associations can disseminate information.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy (WWF). Public policy platform . networking activities. and Comprehensive Rural Operations Service Society (CROSS) are raising the issue of securing land and other rights for women. the actions and examples are tied together as follows: ACTION AND EXAMPLE • • Seminars in legal literacy . and provide services to help members handle economic and political shifts effectively.Women's Technology Cluster is a business incubator for women-owned technology start-ups based in San Francisco. explain change.

Petersburg. and events . The SADC Women’s regional trade show is being organized by 14 women’s business associations located in Africa’s Sub-Saharan region. then sharing and disseminating data collected.The MERCOSUR Women’s Forum: A Challenge for the Third Millennium held in 1997. shows. Russia offers expert counseling on combating societal gender indifference and discrimination. and Statistical Repository . • Workshops and conferences on gender discrimination .The NFWBO is a premier source of information on women business owners in the US. It supports the growth of women business owners by conducting research. GAWE offered participants a variety 54 . • International Trade Training .Ghana Association of Women Entrepreneurs (GAWE) hosted the First Global Women Entrepreneurs’ Trade and Investment Forum in 1996 drawing 504 participants from 44 countries and 30 international organizations. Data Collection. Plan to attend in September 2000. • Research. • Trade fairs.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy program molded by assistance from and affiliation with Women's World Bank.Business and Professional Women (BPW) International in St.

Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy of conference sessions dealing with international trade. and the United States. Broad policy guidelines must examine the overall institutional framework within which economic activity takes place in order to establish whether it provides maximum scope for entrepreneurship to flourish (see box 5). * Allow scope for flexible employment contracts to be negotiated. The following chart presents some of its broad policy guidelines that can be applied to developing and transitioning countries as well. with remuneration arrangements and working conditions that are well adapted to the needs of dynamic enterprises. Each country and each businesswomen’s association needs to examine how these policies could best be applied within its own situation. Sweden. GAWE plans another conference in May 2000. How can a women’s business organization advocate cooperatively and efficiently to influence policymakers? The OECD outlined a number of effective suggestions from a recent study of policies that foster entrepreneurship in five countries—Australia. Spain. Relax employment protection measures that inhibit restructuring or discourage entrepreneurs from taking on new workers. Box 5. Selected Policy Options to Promote Entrepreneurship by OECD * Examine whether current regulations governing financial institutions and/or financial markets inhibit or facilitate the availability and optimal allocation of finance for entrepreneurial activities. The Netherlands. 55 .

* Increase opportunities for the unemployed to create their own jobs through self-employment schemes. * Provide regular opportunities to exchange information at a national level on the experiences of local authorities in designing and implementing entrepreneurship programs. where possible. Fostering Entrepreneurship. 56 . * Advocate to government to widen the target population for entrepreneurship programs. * Ensure that resources for programs to foster entrepreneurship are decentralized.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy * Examine the costs of complying with government-imposed administrative or regulatory requirements and identify where reductions could be made. * Promote the entrepreneurial nonprofit sector by contracting-out where possible the delivery of public services that meet pressing demands in economic and social development. 1998. to attract the participation of women. * Promote public awareness of entrepreneurship and examine the role the education system could play in developing entrepreneurial skills and attitudes. Source: OECD. * Examine the overall effects of the tax system on entrepreneurship. * Review and simplify the registration procedures required to create a business. the young and minorities. * Facilitate networking among firms in order to foster a culture of mutual cooperation and risk-taking.

explain why doing business in South Africa is different from doing business in Zambia. Track and summarize association member details. For example. Are there regional differences in best practices? If yes. Ascertain all methods that reflect your accomplishments and pass them along to the world by analyzing. What are the best practices? Describe your best management training course or your best export initiative or your best enterprise links initiative. distributing. practice crafting member surveys such as needs assessment questionnaires or legislative issues polls or training program evaluations. 2.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy Two final recommendations: 1. and disseminating what has been learned in a written format. What advocacy efforts have been successful? Explain your most advantageous advocacy approaches like meeting one-on-one with legislators or holding legislative issues breakfast meetings. Report successes. number of years in Broadcast 57 . reporting. New as well as established entrepreneurs want to hear success stories. generously. or press conferences. What is the most valuable membership service that could be shared? Describe how members can act as ambassadors to attract in prospective members or how trade shows might best draw attention to your organization. focus groups. categorize member’s demographics such as their types of business. Also.

Conclusions In a world of rapid change. She said that she thought the vision process was just to generate a meaningless slogan. Continue to research. mindful vision that can lead toward a better world is often underestimated. newsletters. credit concerns. and other entrepreneurial support organizations. banking institutions. The importance of a strong. Summarize your findings and submit your discoveries to government officials. all entrepreneurs must have the flexibility and creativity to meet the changes they face. and business needs.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy operation. Recently. and staff. Nongovernmental organizations aren’t doing it. a participant from the Russian Far East who was attending a US Department of Commerce business planning seminar remarked that she really appreciated the vision/mission portion of the day. At the same time. and record statistics pertinent to the member entrepreneurs needs and goals. collect data. services. training programs. printed materials. Governments claim they haven’t the money to do it. characteristics. economic impacts. use the members’ input to assess your organization’s products. obstacles. What she realized after the visioning exercise was the importance of using an 58 .

Individually. R. We can do better. Working for a fair trade. Nationally. 1999. 59 . As female entrepreneurs. research. directing. business ownership provides women with the independence they crave and with economic and social success they need. and statistics that are currently missing. female business owners must be recognized for who they are. and how significantly they impact the world’s global economy. and changing the face of how business is done today. effective women’s business associations. S. as members of active. business ownership has great importance for future economic prosperity.Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Economy effectively articulated mission as a driving force to propel her company to what she wanted it to achieve. Globally. we are responsible for producing the literature. surveying. 1 Greenberger. observing. and interviewing individual enterprise owners it is difficult to understand with clarity and assurance the current entrepreneurial movement or women’s economic opportunities. This is essential for assessing women’s financial contributions to the global economy. Hemispheres. Ultimately. Without directly tracking. what they do. women are enhancing. Even the data we have collected over the past 10 years are insufficient and hardly correlate with the growing number of women entrepreneurs.

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