ITC SheTrades initiative: Connecting one million women to market by 2020.
Women’s economic empowerment is not a matter for government policy, the private sector, or social change alone. All have critical roles to play. This is why the International Trade Centre (ITC) has launched the “SheTrades” initiative, which seeks to connect one million women entrepreneurs to market by 2020.
SheTrades offers a blueprint of 7 global actions to unlock markets for women and a platform for women entrepreneurs to connect to markets. This effort to bring about transformational change necessitates partnerships between ITC and credible organisations to achieve a common goal: the economic empowerment of women.
Stakeholders ranging from financial institutions to research and multilateral organisations are called upon to collaborate with ITC to expand opportunities for women entrepreneurs by making specific, actionable pledges:
- To collect, analyse and disseminate data on women’s economic participation; sex disaggregated data will allow you to understand factors that drive the competitiveness of women owned businesses;
- To create trade policies and agreements that enhance women’s participation in trade;
- To empower women-owned businesses to participate in the public procurement spending;
- To create corporate procurement programmes that embed diversity and inclusion in value chains; companies such as IKEA, Nestle and Accenture have introduced women-inclusive procurement policies;
- To address supply side constraints that especially affects women-owned businesses;
- To close the gap between men and women for accessing financial services;
- To ensure legislative and administrative reforms guarantee women’s rights to ownership and control over resources.
The SheTrades initiative is supported by a web and mobile application. At SheTrades women entrepreneurs are able to share information about their companies, to make them visible, expand networks, connect and internationalise.
SheTrades also helps corporations to include more women entrepreneurs in their supply chains. SheTrades provides women entrepreneurs across the world a unique platform to connect to markets!
What does SheTrades offer to women entrepreneurs?
- Let the market know what their companies have to offer
- Enables them to find new business and partnership opportunities
- Matches them with companies that have complimentary interests
SheTrades offers a place to create new business, in real time in a user-driven, dynamic and user friendly space. The app is based on internationally recognised business protocols.
This is what is at the heart of the SheTrades app!
What does SheTrades offer the market?
SheTrades helps companies to include more women entrepreneurs in their supply chains as part of diversity and inclusion commitments.
Through a series of customized filters companies can identify women entrepreneurs that could meet their sourcing requirements. As a SheTrades member, companies have full access to women entrepreneurs profiles and company information.
A pool of women entrepreneurs is ready to expand their networks and trade!
SheTrades works with partners to verify registered women entrepreneurs. What does it mean?
A growing number of credible organisations including SDI International, KAGIDER, PROMPERU, CAWEE and IWCA have already confirmed their place on the platform to verify women entrepreneurs that are members of their networks. This functionality will provide a form of reference for women entrepreneurs registered on the App, enhancing their credibility to potential business partners.
The SheTrades App is the result of the WVEF Tech Challenge 2015.
The “Women Vendors Exhibition and Forum (WVEF)” is the flagship event of the International Trade Centre* which was held in São Paulo, Brazil, on 2-3 September. During WVEF, ITC and partners announced a call to action to support 1 million women entrepreneurs enter international markets by 2020. A key element to facilitate this goal is technology. Based on that, ITC has teamed up with Google and CI&T to launch an electronic platform on which Women entrepreneurs can register their businesses and increase their visibility to potential buyers. Therefore, a global Tech Challenge was launched in July 2015, calling on software developers and other IT and graphic specialists to help create a web/mobile App for women-owned businesses (WOBs) across the world. Out of more than 300 competitors, Greenbell Communications (GBC) of Kenya has been chosen as the winner of the Challenge.
About the International Trade Centre
ITC is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations Global Goals.
About ITC Empowering Women to trade Programme
The purpose of the Empowering Women to trade Programme is to increase the economic benefits business women in developing countries derive from their participation in international trade with a focus on key objectives:
- Increase the demand for goods and services supplied by women entrepreneurs;
- Build women entrepreneurs’ capacity;
- Build the capacity of Trade & Investment Support Institutions to better service women clients;
- Increase policy makers’ awareness of the potential represented by women entrepreneurs and raise awareness of related barriers hampering women entrepreneurs’ participation in international trade.
Advancing women’s equality could add $28 trillion to global GDP by 2025 enabling economies to unlock their full potential. And yet women entrepreneurs still face significant obstacles to trade that hinder their competitiveness and integration into the global economy.
The International Trade Centre’s pioneering Empowering Women to trade Programme addresses these obstacles and has over the last five years supported women entrepreneurs to secure in excess of $70m of exports and directly trained several thousand women entrepreneurs with many more benefiting indirectly. This has been achieved through a broad portfolio of projects focusing on a range of sectors, geographies and types of beneficiary (from export ready women owned SMEs, to small scale agricultural producers, to women informal cross border traders).
ITC’s SheTrades initiative scales up the successes achieved under ITC’s Empowering Women to trade Programme which since 2010 has played an important role in drawing attention to women’s economic empowerment within the global and regional trade agenda. ITC’s SheTrades is a wide-ranging initiative to empower women economically through greater integration in global trade and investment, with a goal to connect one million women to markets by 2020.
The Empowering Women to trade Programme is supported by United Kingdom Aid through the Department for International Development (DFID), the Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as well as with support provided by the government of Norway and others through ITC’s Global Trust Fund.