About SheTrades

 

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A GOAL: Connect 1 million women to market by 2020

Women’s economic empowerment is not a matter for government policy, the private sector, or civil society 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.

Having more women in the marketplace has a positive impact businesses in all sectors and the women themselves who benefit from a larger workforce, more competition, and as a result more choices between better products.  In fact, the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that advancing women’s equality could add US $28 trillion to global GDP by 2025, enabling economies to unlock their full potential –and SheTrades is the key.

 

A BLUEPRINT: Seven global actions to ensure success

While women’s economic empowerment has been on the global development agenda for almost two decades, knowledge about female entrepreneurship has been fragmentary, and the business and economic cases have not been fully articulated. Our months’ long consultations in 2015 with thought leaders around the world sought to ramp up the trajectory towards eradicating extreme poverty by 2030. These consultations revealed that a key challenge is the persisting silos between the various actors working in this area, as well as the substantive components of women’s enterprise development including research, policy, finance, access to markets and capacity building.

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.  Click an icon below to become a part of the movement and join SheTrades as we continue to drive policy changes that scale-up women owned businesses.

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1. Champion. Quality data

Quality data related to women’s economic participation is limited. Research and analysis can provide an evidence-base to inform the development of meaningful policies and programmes.

SheTrades invites you/your institution to:

  • mandate thecollection of sex-disaggregated data andbaselines related to the economicparticipation of women in business ownership,including company registers, and to collectkey data with regard to sectors, acceleratorsand obstacles to women’s business growth;
  • collect and share sex-disaggregateddata gathered through theprocurement process. In addition toinforming business progress, doing so willcontribute to the development of the businessand economic cases for inclusive global valuechains;
  • ensure that women are identifiable and visible in the economy by capturing the percentage and amount of budget and spend allotted for doing business with companies owned by women;
  • provide coverage of women entrepreneurs, women’s entrepreneurship, and relevant research, white papers, and the like produced by women economists and thought leaders.


In order to complete this commitment, you need have a SheTrades account, please select the following action:
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2. Enact. Fair policies

There is a growing acknowledgement that gender-based inequalities impact trade policy outcomes and trade performance. Through SheTrades we encourage and support governments to level the playing field for women entrepreneurs.

SheTrades invites you/your institution to:

  • integrate gender awareness and consideration of gender into trade policies and agreements in order to proactively include women and women-owned businesses in the global market;
  • offer mentorship, training and education about local, regional and global trends, legislation, policies, taxation and service/product/solution gaps that generate opportunities for women-owned businesses.


In order to complete this commitment, you need have a SheTrades account, please select the following action:
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3. Secure. Government contracts

Governments across the world spend around $13T dollars on purchasing goods and services. In developing countries, the share of public spend can be as much as 40% of annual GDP, yet only an estimated 1% of this is spent with women suppliers

ITC is providing governments with practical ways to open up procurement markets for women, including a guide for procurement officers, an e-learning course, and procurement map – an online tool where we publish 150,000 public tenders each day.

SheTrades invites you/your institution to:

  • promote the participation of women-owned businesses in public procurement markets by adopting transparent and inclusive procurement policies using the full range of such policy measures available in line with international best practices and standards, including preferential policies, with the aim of achieving wide-reaching results and impacting corporate supply chains;
  • consider corporate commitment to gender equality, including supplier diversity, when making decisions about which businesses to procure from or partner with;
  • set a minimum 10% or more public procurement target from businesses that are certified to an accepted standard definition of ownership, management and control by one or more women;
  • adopt a standard definition of women-owned business, setting guidelines on ownership, management and control, and to require proof of certification from a third party certifying organisation;
  • take measures to remove demand side barriers, including those found in tender design, qualification and requirements, and access to information on tender opportunities and payments;
  • take measures to address supply side constraints by facilitating or supporting training, mentoring and capacity building to enable more women-owned businesses to access contracts and sell to governments, including to foreign governments.


In order to complete this commitment, you need have a SheTrades account, please select the following action:
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4. Strike. Business deals

To capitalise on the supplier diversity initiatives that the majority of the Fortune 500 companies promote, and those of companies in the south that are increasingly pursuing diverse supply chainsasa means to optimising their procurement functions to support profit, growth, efficiency and sustainability objectives.

SheTrades invites you/your institution to:

  • conduct a baseline study to understand from where they are procuring their goods and services, and the percentage that is going to women’s business enterprises;
  • make supply chains inclusive, and set a minimum 10% or more procurement target from businesses that are certified to a standard definition of ownership, management and control by one or more women;
  • build capacity of women-owned enterprises as suppliers, through supplier development programmes and corporate mentoring;
  • formulate incentives for the private sector to source from women suppliers, such as policies relating to subcontracting of public tenders to tier 2 suppliers;
  • build capacity for corporations and trade and investment promotion organisations on how to create national, regional and global supplier diversity and inclusion programmes focused on women-owned businesses.


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5. Enable. Market access

Women face greater hurdles in setting up and growing their businesses. ITC’s surveys revealed that only one in five exporting companies are women-owned, and that women face greater procedural obstacles to trade. Women’s businesses tend to be smaller and concentrated in less productive sectors. Women-owned businesses need to scale, focus on more productive sectors and move up the value chain, in order to more successfully compete in the increasingly complex trade landscape.

SheTrades invites you/your institution to:

  • develop strategies and deliver tailored capacity and skills development for strengthening entrepreneurial and leadership skills to enhance women' s participation in trade;
  • apply a gender lens to addressing non-tariff measures that affect, often disproportionately, the ability of women-owned businesses to benefit from full participation in trade;
  • embrace innovation as well as information and communication technologies to increase the competitiveness of women-owned businesses, and to fuel growth.


In order to complete this commitment, you need have a SheTrades account, please select the following action:
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6. Unlock. Financial services

Women entrepreneurs are more likely than their male counterparts to cite access to finance as a severe constraint to their business operations. Sometimes women are held back by lack of information and financial literacy. Yet women control more than US$20 trillion in global consumer spending. Bold steps need to be taken to close the access to financial service gap between men and women,including bank accounts, saving, housing finance, SME loans, equity, insurance products and digital payments.

SheTrades invites you/your institution to:

  • craft a legal and regulatory environment where access to and control of financial services can be delivered effectively to women, including through the use of technology;
  • invest in non-financial services such as mentorships, financial literacy classes and business coaching on financial planning and business management;
  • offer short term trade finance, which would benefit both men and women, but can specifically lower capital barriers for women;
  • develop innovativesources of information to establish creditworthiness beyond just collateral, such associal network analysis, psychometric testing,etc.


In order to complete this commitment, you need have a SheTrades account, please select the following action:
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7. Grant. Ownership rights

Over turning legal impediments to women’s economic participation is within the sphere of control of policy makers seeking to boost economic growth. In many countries for example, women have less access, ownership, and control over resources than men, a key barrier to participation in the formal economy.

SheTrades invites you/your institution to:

  • undertake legislative and administrative reforms to guarantee women’s and girls’ rights to full and equal access to ownership and control over resources, including the right to inheritance and land titling, credit, financial services, and the right to enter into contracts.


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