Theme: Non-financial services
1. Key strategies to involve women as active partners in growing global value chains
Host: Josien Sluijs, NpM, Platform for Inclusive Finance.
Since companies want to ensure good and stable supply of local produce, supply chains are gradually more and more professionalised. Increased commercialization of commodities and the use of new technologies, often goes hand in hand with higher costs and lower participation of women. Financial services for women are often less accessible and women usually participate in the more informal chains. How do large commercial organisations view the role of women in the chain? How can we organize the value chain in such a way that we ensure better and structural participation of women? And what kind of strategies can be developed? Learn from the inspiring case studies ‘’a maize value chain supplying a Dutch food producer in Rwanda’’ and ‘’a malt barley value chain supplying a Dutch brewer company in Ethiopia’’.
Platform for Inclusive Finance (NpM) brings together development organizations, social investors, private foundations and commercial banks from The Netherlands to promote inclusive finance. In many developing countries, large parts of the population have limited access to financial services. Inclusive finance focuses on this part of the population with the supply of loans, savings, insurance and other basic financial services.
Ms. Josien Sluijs has been active in the field of inclusive finance for over 15 years. In her current position as Director of NpM, she is responsible for the representation of the Dutch Inclusive Finance sector and she facilitates cooperation, knowledge development and sharing amongst the members of NpM. Before her current position, she held a senior position at Rabo Development. She was responsible for restructuring Rural Banks in the Middle East and Asia. She was also responsible for different advisory trajectories for international organizations, such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and research projects with regard to Value Chain Finance.
2. The SheTrades initiative
Host: Vanessa Erogbobo & Anders Aeroe, SheTrades
The International Trade Centre launched the SheTrades initiative to create an ecosystem of integrated solutions that empower women economically through greater integration in trade and investment. SheTrades aims to connect 1 million women to market by 2020. Through country-based activities, SheTrades enables women entrepreneurs to improve the quality of their products and services. One of the greatest challenges that remains is creating quality deal flow for investors committed to investing in women owned SMEs in support of the SDGs. Women entrepreneurs can find trade partners through facilitated business/investment linkages and on a free-to-use web and mobile app. There have been more than 10 SheTrades country launches where governments have embraced the initiative and adapted it to local context to ensure that women have a greater role in their economies. More than 120 corporations and institutions have signed up to support the initiative.
3. Demand-driven services supporting women’s empowerment
Host: Reintje van Haeringen, CARE
CARE has a track-record in working with women entrepreneurs globally. In partnership with the H&M Foundation, CARE has reached over a 100.000 women worldwide. Based on the experiences of the partnership, it becomes clear that non-financial services that support women’s empowerment are most effective if they are driven by women’s demands. In this session, real-life examples of women entrepreneurs from Guatemala, and the screening of the film ‘Who Inspires you?’ will feed a discussion on the role of organizations and partnerships in supporting women entrepreneurs. Debating questions that evolve around the sustainability, scalability and development of demand-driven services and initiatives that support women’s empowerment.
Click here to see the film ‘Who Inspires You?”
4. The Power of Networking
Host: Corinne Heijn, United Success
Over the last 5 years women networking ‘clubs’ of all sorts have popped up in a rapid pace in many corners of the world. It underscores the need for women entrepreneurs to inspire each other and share their challenges. Women entrepreneurism and economic empowerment will continue to be front and center in the years to come as more companies, communities and countries invest in women’s entrepreneurship. Increasingly, organizations across all pillars of our global society recognize that women are crucial to economic growth. There are 163 million women operating new businesses and another 111 million at the helm of established ones (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, 2016).
Yet! Although more women are embracing entrepreneurship, they often face challenges not typically shared by their male counterparts. Women need their own support system, hence the importance of women business networks. In light of the focus of this conference “Making Finance Work for Women Entrepreneurs”, how can these networks ease the way for women entrepreneurs for getting appropriate access to growth capital? Let’s explore and come up with creative and effective solutions.
Corinne Heijn has a wealth of experience of the needs of women entrepreneurs around the world. In 2009 she established UnitedSucces. Its mission is to connect and unite women entrepreneurs to amplify positive global impact. After 8 years UnitedSucces has become a trusted brand. It has established a global network of visionary, high-impact and compassionate women entrepreneurs who collectively have the power to create a better world. In a trusted interactive environment the members connect by sharing invaluable know-how and contacts. UnitedSucces facilitates access to both local and international markets and supports women entrepreneurs in realizing their business aspirations.
UnitedSucces has the ambition to become a thought-leader on global women entrepreneurship, by setting the agenda to bring positive change, “we will inspire, facilitate and reinvent real inclusive businesses, look for sustainable models and long term solutions, adapt and help spread circularity, no-waste strategies, inclusive strategies and peer-to-peer support”.
5. Digital solutions for business growth.
Hosts: Suzana Moreira, MOWOZA and Sophie Kuwanje, GROW Movement
Digital solutions and tools can enhance the lives of millions of people, making things easier every day. These solutions can impact lives by pushing boundaries; they are inclusive for people with low skills and low literacy, while helping them to participate in the knowledge society in innovative ways. Digital interventions; for e.g., through Facebook likes, are driving targeted content and advertising; USSD is benefiting rural farmers previously struggling to connect to supply chains while SMS is informing young mothers-to-be on each stage of their pregnancy; while micro entrepreneurs rely on Whatsapp to receive and discuss business growth and skills development with their mentors.
The number of social digital innovations introduced into the market continues to grow. But what kind of strategies should we begin to adopt to make these solutions go viral? Should our focus be on developing more advanced digital solutions for a smarter younger generation who are web literate and can pass on the required skills to the older generation? Alternatively how do we increase literacy to include millions of women to adopt more complex digital solutions? What kind of partners will support these developments? We have seen successes across the emerging world but a large portion of the population is still excluded. How can we take existing models and replicate them? What other resources are required and how can established players get involved? Learn from two inspiring cases: Mowoza and Grow Movement during this roundtable session.
Suzana Moreira is the founder of Mowoza, a tech start-up delivering innovative technology services for micro and small business entrepreneurs in the retail sector in Mozambique. She works with her target market, using techniques, such as design thinking, agile methodologies to create services that can increase efficiencies and improve their livelihoods. To date Mowoza has created a mobile web inventory management system; a capacity building program to increase business, financial and digital literacy skills which can be accessed via online, SMS and Whatsapp, and a USSD accessed cash flow solution. Under Suzana’s leadership, Mowoza has also completed consulting projects for the Legatum Institute (MIT), DFID, World Bank (Washington, DC) amongst others on the barriers facing informal traders. Before her current position she worked on several several high profile mega projects where she was responsible for programme management, reporting and delivery. Suzana has been a mentor to a number of infrastructure professionals on selected NEPAD PIDA Corridor Transportation projects Infrastructure for Skills Development (IS4D) programme.
Sophie Kumwanje, has for the last six years worked for Grow Movement Malawi as a Project Manager interview the volunteer consultants and clients; matching the two to stat sessions; coordinating the sessions between the volunteer consultant and the client, and conducting impact assessments. Before joining Grow, she worked for the National Association of Business Women (NABW) where she was responsible for the disbursement and administration of client loans.
6. Developing inclusive value chains by fostering global partnerships
Host: Maggie Berry, WEConnect and Peter Zerp, Accenture
Investing in women is simply good for business. Women make the vast majority of consumer purchasing decisions and consumers are increasingly dictating whom they want to buy from, how they want to buy and which behaviours they want the companies they buy from to follow. By diversifying their supplier base to reflect their markets, corporations can increase shareholder value and enhance competitive advantage. The private sector is leading the way in creating more inclusive value chains by buying from traditionally underutilised suppliers, including women-owned businesses. However, large corporations face numerous challenges identifying and sourcing from these enterprises and most women business owners lack the knowledge and networks required to connect with large corporations. As a result, women-owned businesses currently earn less than 1% of the money spent on suppliers by large corporations globally. Women who want to grow their companies are not looking for charity but they need the financial tools, business skills, and leadership training to help them build and share wealth and create much needed jobs. And the most efficient way to get large amounts of money into the hands of women is to allow them to earn it. WEConnect International certifies women's business enterprises outside the US and then connects them with qualified buyers. They work closely with their corporate members, including Accenture, and in this session Maggie and Peter will lead a discussion focussing on connecting women-owned businesses in the corporate supply chain.
Maggie Berry, Executive Director for Europe, WEConnect International WEConnect International is a global organisation supporting supplier diversity in procurement and helping majority owned women businesses to connect into the corporate supply chain. WEConnect International is a global organisation championing supplier diversity in procurement and helping majority owned women businesses to connect into the corporate supply chain. WEConnect International’s corporate members - including the likes of Accenture, IBM, Intel and MSD - represent $1 trillion in annual purchasing power and are true pioneers in inclusive sourcing and global supplier development. Maggie has lead responsibility for the management, leadership and development of WEConnect International’s activity in Europe and her role involves developing corporate and public sector support as well as growing a network of majority owned women’s businesses across the UK and Europe. Prior to joining WEConnect International, she ran womenintechnology.co.uk – an online job board, recruitment and networking forum for women working in the technology profession in the UK. She continues to run the Women in Technology Network on an informal basis and remains actively involved with championing women in the technology profession. She is a Freeman at the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists in London. Maggie’s personal driver and focus is to increase the number of women who are succeeding and achieving in their business lives – whether they’re working in the corporate world or running their own business, are in the early stages of their career or are seasoned professionals. She does this on a day to day basis at WEConnect International and in her spare time everywhere else!
Peter Zerp is Supplier Inclusion & Diversity Program Manager for Accenture. Accenture's Global Supplier Inclusion & Diversity Program runs in 17 countries unlocking opportunities for diverse businesses with global corporate supply chains. Through our Diverse Supplier Development Program, currently running in 4 countries we equip diverse suppliers with the right skills-set to grow their business and sustain long-term relationships with large corporations. Peter is a member of WEConnect International's Global and Europe board and involved in many (global) initiatives around inclusive procurement targeting women, lgbt, ethnicity and persons with disabilities.