What if there were an army of innovators who could transform local economies and increase prosperity for people in developing nations? Innovators that perform 66 percent of the world’s work, yet incredibly only earn ten percent of its income. Look no further than female entrepreneurs who run businesses that expand financial inclusion.
Women entrepreneurs must overcome great obstacles across the world’s regions. To thrive, women creatively seek growth opportunities as in Columbia and elsewhere.
Challenges of Female Entrepreneurs
In many places, women are still considered ill-equipped to handle the burdens that come with running a business. In addition to family care, selling produce or running other small enterprises is very time-consuming. However, the Cherie Blair Foundation and other world organizations assist female entrepreneurs. I’m seeing many success stories of women who create profitable businesses in emerging markets, just as they have in the U.S. Having a plan is the key. And, as I’ve written in this website, entrepreneurship is for everyone:
The prize is too great and the process has already started. It is inevitable that we will live in a world where everyone has affordable access to financial services that empower their life and work. The goal is in sight, but it requires strengthening emerging solutions through entrepreneurship, then ensuring that services are widely available.
Another important challenge for women is the issue of identity. Many underserved populations lack affordable financial services partly due to no verifiable identity. Some may not know their birthdays. Think for a moment about what your identity offers you: the ability to vote, get a driver’s license, receive government assistance, or open a bank account.
Opportunities for Women in Business
Focusing on the entry points for women’s economic participation will also help to create massive change. If poor women can overcome barriers to entry for affordable financial services (savings, remittance and micro-credit), legal protection, education, and training, then the doors to financial inclusion and economic prosperity will be blown wide open.
Many non-profit organizations are working to create more opportunities for female entrepreneurs.
- The La Pietra Coalition created the Third Billion Campaign aimed at removing hurdles for the full economic participation of women whose lives may previously have been stunted. This initiative could have a multiplier effect. As new consumers and workers enter the economy, they create new markets and increase the available talent pool. This effort has gathered widespread attention with the backing of companies like Accenture, Coca-Cola, Ernst & Young, and Goldman Sachs.
- The Nike Foundation created the Girl Effect Movement to educate young girls in developing countries. The organization works to reach 250 million girls living in poverty across the world by 2030, giving them the tools and access to the critical assets they need to achieve their full potential.
- The Adventure Project hopes to create one million jobs in the next ten years. They believe the most beautiful gift is the opportunity to thrive.
To level the playing field, there needs to an integrated approach in each country where incoming female entrepreneurs are given both access and the essential education to enter the global workforce.
Women entrepreneurs are ready to become viable contributors to society. On his recent visit to India, Bill Gates prophesied 2016 to be The Year of Financial Inclusion. Can female entrepreneurs accelerate financial inclusion? You bet.
Co-author Carol Realini serves on the board of various companies whose products help to provide the under-served with accessible and affordable financial services. A fintech pioneer and female entrepreneur, she works to help emerging markets across the globe. Here Carol talks in the Huffington Post about raising venture capital.