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Helping poor women grow their businesses with mobile savings, training, and something more?

Mayra Buvinic's picture

Growing a business is not easy, and for women firm owners the challenges can be acute, especially when they are poor and run subsistence level firms. In developing countries, 22 percent of women discontinue their established businesses due to a lack of funds, and women are more likely than men to report exiting their businesses over finance problems, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. Meanwhile, personal savings are a crucial source of entrepreneurial financing, and nearly 95 percent of entrepreneurs globally state that they used their own funds to start or scale up their businesses. Women, however, face unique constraints in accumulating savings to invest in growing their firms.
 

Photo credit: Marijo Silva and the “She Counts” global platform.

Equality Means Business: Making the Business Case for Women

Charity R. Hodzi-Sibanda's picture
Despite women’s active role in Zimbabwe’s informal sector, they are underrepresented in its formal business sector. Credit: Arne Hoel/ World Bank


When early December was upon us—heralding the start of the month of annual festivities—a group of women executives met to put forward strategies for equality in business. They met against a background of the harsh reality of women’s exclusion from leadership positions in Zimbabwe, brought to the fore in a recently released Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) Manufacturing Survey for 2017.

The survey, which derived some of its data from the 2016 World Bank Enterprise survey as well as from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, revealed that—in a country struggling with unemployment—the labor force in the manufacturing sector is composed of only 20 percent women on average, and 80 percent of men.