Why women entrepreneurs are the most promising engine of inclusive economic growth for South Asia and beyond

To begin to realize women’s potential as entrepreneurs, the private and public sectors must work together to enable better access to markets and finance.

Women entrepreneurs are gradually making their mark on a global scale. Image courtesy of Corporal Natalie Rostran/Wikimedia Commons

According to “How to Rebuild Global Business for Good,” a special report sponsored by Moody’s Corporation and TD Bank Group and led by WEConnect International, when women business owners have access to markets and capital, everyone benefits: employees, families, communities and the global economy.

However, women-owned businesses continue to be one of the most underutilized engines of innovation and job growth in developed and emerging markets. Although almost a third of all private businesses globally are owned by women, these same businesses receive less than 1% of spending from large corporate and government buyers. If this imbalance were corrected, or even slightly improved, trillions of dollars would in turn be reinvested by women directly into employees, families and communities around the world.

According to a study by the International Labor Organization, advancing women’s equality in business would increase global GDP by $5.8 trillion by 2025. Unsurprisingly, most of this increase would come from emerging economies. . Therefore, while everyone will undoubtedly benefit from the leveling of the gender gap, there are a few countries, due to their size and population, that are poised to see incredible gains; especially the countries of South Asia. India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have already demonstrated a higher level of political commitment to promote and support women entrepreneurs by creating an enabling environment through policy interventions.

Local communities also benefit when we support women business owners, as women are both uniquely placed to understand the overall needs of their communities and more driven by the desire to materially improve the quality of life of all those that surround them. Concretely, this takes the form of reducing poverty by increasing overall employment through more small businesses, improving health and collective well-being by engaging more in business enterprises that meet family needs. and encouraging widespread basic education with an emphasis on literacy. And precisely because women who own businesses tend to focus on local needs, they have a better overall track record of success in many areas than I do, including more reliably repaying loans. .

To begin to realize women’s potential as entrepreneurs, the private and public sectors must work together to enable better access to markets and finance. Business training and the development of growth-oriented female suppliers seeking market access is essential. Along the same lines, non-governmental organizations also have a key role to play in facilitating capacity building, market access, access to finance and business networking.

With so many opportunities, it’s clear that women business owners represent the most promising engine of economic inclusion and remarkable growth. Investing in women entrepreneurs is not only an investment in South Asia’s multidimensional growth, but it also makes economies more resilient overall. Join me in harnessing the power and potential of women business owners, by buying more from a women-owned business today and every day!

Elizabeth A Vazquez is CEO and Co-Founder of WEConnect International and Eroshan Alagaretnam is the Regional Director for South Asia, WEConnect International, a global non-profit member-driven organization that brings together motivated buyers, large corporations, multilateral and governmental with qualified women. proprietary suppliers worldwide. Views are personal.

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