#Newsroom: Launch of the APPG WE Report: The Future of #Female #Entrepreneurship: Pathways to Progress

Noreen Cesareo, Co-chair of the International Trade and Connections sub-group within the All Party Parliamentry Group (APPG) for Women and Enterprise is proud to be a contributor to the first report ‘The Future of Female Entrepreneurship: Pathways to Progress’ issued by the group which includes recommendations to Government and Industry.

The report was launched at Westminster on July 16 2019.
The APPG report establishes the current experience faced by female entrepreneurs, and sees the potential growth of women-owned businesses as an area of economic opportunity for the UK.  They already contribute an impressive £115 billion to the economy, despite the fact that they currently secure significantly less than 5% of corporate and public sector contracts.
This first report focuses on three major issues identified as facing female entrepreneurs:

  • Access to Finance
  • Business Support, Coaching and Mentoring
  • International Trade and Connections

The International Trade and Connections group conducted extensive research, interviews and study over three years. Among our list of recommendations in this field to Government and Industry, we highlight the following:

Role Models for Exporting
Our findings highlight the lack of visible role models from among women-owned businesses that are exporting internationally. There is also a gap in the number of trained official advisors from government, NGOs or private organisations specifically appointed to advise on international trade and support women-business owners get to international markets.

Seen from an international trading perspective, UK women-owned businesses in particular face different issues to their male counterparts, due to differences in cultural norms which can create barriers in access. There were many anecdotal examples of where this has happened particularly during negotiations or when discussing specific detail within areas of expertise which was particularly visible in fields such as logistics, construction, which have historically been male-dominated and run.

Setting Standards Internationally
Currently there are countries in the Commonwealth and North America that are ensuring women-owned businesses have a foothold in international markets. By working with them and seeking to set international standards, the UK will be regarded as one of the drivers in this field, which has the potential to open doors for women-owned businesses to extend their markets.

There are many instances where this can take place through existing channels, such as the cross-Government initiative “Exporting is Great” campaign and organisations that promote UK companies such as Made in Britain (manufacturing), Chamber of Commerce and Institute Of Directors. The UK has always been regarded as one of the leading countries in international trade, and such campaigns will continue to emphasise this message and create openings into new markets.

A lack of gender disaggregated data was also a recurring theme throughout our inquiry which has the consequence of restricting the ability to create effective forward strategies.

The full report can be downloaded here.


#WomenOwned #WEI #WEConnect #PinkShoe #TeamEB

#Newsroom: WEI Speaks at the UNCTAD Multi-Year Expert Meeting on Enhancing the Inclusive Dimension of Enterprise Development in Geneva

A WEI delegation took part in the 7th session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Multi-Year Expert Meeting on Enhancing the Inclusive Dimension of Enterprise Development which took place at the Palais des Nations, Geneva between 17-19th June 2019. The delegation consisted of Yolanda Gibb, Trade Lead, who was a discussant during the session covering Empowering Women Entrepreneurs; Noreen Burroughes Cesareo and Nicole Pitter Patterson.Noreen Cesareo was part of the WEI delegation taking part in the  7th session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Multi-Year Expert Meeting on Enhancing the Inclusive Dimension of Enterprise Development at the Palais des Nations, Geneva between 17-19th June 2019.

The delegation included Yolanda Gibb, Trade Lead, who was a discussant during the session covering Empowering Women Entrepreneurs and Nicole Pitter Patterson.

The Expert Meeting which brought together delegates from countries around the United Nations, discussed how the sustainable and inclusive dimension of enterprise development could be enhanced by promoting responsible business practices, corporate social responsibility and inclusive entrepreneurship that can facilitate progress towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

During the meeting, delegates heard and reviewed examples of inclusive business models and how awareness of good sustainable and inclusive business practices could be facilitated. They also heard about policies that are being drafted, or that are already in place, that strengthen the role of entrepreneurship for inclusive growth and sustainable development. As part of the agenda, they considered how the UNCTAD Entrepreneurship Policy Framework could be adapted and expanded to address the challenges of sustainable and inclusive growth, including creating employment opportunities and engendering inclusive outcomes for disadvantaged groups of the population such as youth, women, migrants, persons with disabilities and the poor.

The session on Empowering Women Entrepreneurs was a lively and interactive session, with academics, representatives from various government and NGOs presenting models and best practice from their regions. Entrepreneurs were also invited to speak and to voice their journeys and challenges as women entrepreneurs. As session discussant, Yolanda was invited to speak on behalf of WEI. She discussed the issue of equality vs equity, saying that women and men are not the same, and that what we should be looking for is equity not equality, fair treatment and fair access. She explained how although we may think that suitable policies are in place, in actual fact they are not gender neutral – and while the issues in general are the same across genders, the solutions are different, and must fit the culture, the economy and the informal mechanisms at work. They must also involve stakeholder engagement right from the beginning. Yolanda went on to add that there are further issues concerning impact measurement; disaggregated statistics are largely missing. Furthermore, impact measurement has a qualitative aspect and this is not being taken into consideration. Economic empowerment for women should be felt by them. How is this to be measured?

Noreen Cesareo then tabled a question on women entrepreneurs that fall below the VAT threshold. She brought forward the example of the work being done in the UK to collect data on women entrepreneurs. She explained how many women entrepreneurs are micro-businesses and sole traders. As a segment, they typically fall in a space that is not easy to measure, and as a result, cannot be included in gender disaggregated statistics. In the UK, there are multiple efforts to find a way to measure this, involving government, the UK Economic Blueprint, various organisations in industry, as well as academia. Noreen asked the delegates present whether any country has found a way to capture this segment.

Other key highlights included the work of Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) empowering women entrepreneurs to grow their business through the power of technology, expansion of global networks and access to capital. In addition, the focus of the International Robotics Academy, Jordan led by Co-Founder Ms. Lama Sha’sha’a underscored the critical importance of gender balanced digital skills training to equip the work force of the future and to ensure inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems as part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Further valuable connections were made with representatives of academia, NGOs, private sector entities, enterprise development partners and digital training organizations for prospective WEI collaborations.

Yolanda, Noreen and Nicole form part of the WEI International Trade team.

Recordings: Yolanda Gibb & Noreen Cesareo Burroughes

#SDG #UnitedNations #UNCTAD #WE Connect International #UK Economic Blueprint for Women Owned Businesses #APPGWE #PinkShoe