Women Entrepreneurs = Half the Solution
Covering the G-20’s major new economic initiative with a focus on women business owners
The enormous potential of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to transform economies and lives will be fully realized when two critical missing links are connected: The first is capital. The second is an underappreciated, underutilized human resource making up the majority of the human resources in the developing world: women. The G-20 SME Finance Challenge is a cutting edge approach to finding and supporting the world’s best ideas for making capital available to SMEs. Among the solutions emerging are initiatives that advance women entrepreneurs.
Women entrepreneurs have benefited from the rise in micro-loan organizations. Their entry into the marketplace has raised income levels, improved the lives of their families, and helped stabilize their communities. Now those women-run start-ups need more financing to grow into larger enterprises, so that their positive social impact can grow too. But SMEs generally are shut out of formal banking options; women-led SMEs have even steeper challenges. That will start changing when the winners of the Challenge meet with G-20 leaders in Korea on November 11-12 and begin to receive significant G-20 financing to scale and replicate their solutions around the world.
Here are some potential angles and interviews for unique, interesting coverage of women-led businesses, for the G-20 Summit and beyond:
Women SME owners are proving they are a solid investment – Statistics show that women small business owners have a higher loan repayment rate than their male counterparts.Micro-lenders have known this for years and now they are taking the next step and adding financing products for the “missing middle” – the businesses that have grown too big for micro-lending but are not embraced by large banks and traditional investors. As with micro-finance, they are seeing the potential for profit while having a social impact as well.
Women-led SMEs change gender norms in their communities – When women take on new positions in economic life, their roles are often positively redefined: increased respect among men, a larger voice in family financial decisions, opportunities for further training and education. These are just a few of the changes that women-run businesses can spur.
Women entrepreneurs help women --Women running business are often inclined to be especially supportive of women entering or in the workforce. In many cases, their companies are explicitly designed to increase women’s economic participation and power.
Women entrepreneurs help entrepreneurs – Women entrepreneurs often know from experience how challenging it is to get attention and respect. They work hard for it and they have keen insights into how to highlight the work of other entrepreneurs struggling to be noticed by investors.
Women entrepreneurs transform society – When women take on roles traditionally held by men, such as owning and running businesses, the standing of all women rises. Their success serves as a model for girls and women throughout the culture and demonstrates possibilities never before imagined.
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