Good News: Upwardly Mobile Female Entrepreneurs
Female entrepreneurs are an ever-growing phenomenon in emerging countries, but while we in the UK spend an increasing amount of time glued to our mobile phones, the women who could most benefit from improved technology often don’t even have the luxury of text messaging. A new report from the Cherie Blair and ExxonMobil Foundations may be about to change all that, though.
Mobile technology and the ubiquitous smartphone are part of everyday life for our social media-obsessed generation. But the same can’t be said for the millions of enterprising women in developing nations across the globe, who are unable to take advantage of the basic technology, such as simple text messaging (let alone mobile internet), that we all take for granted. But, as a new report commissioned by The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and the ExxonMobil Foundation has shown, they often find themselves starting up small businesses to support themselves and their families, doing the best they can with the limited resources available.
Mobile phones are no longer a luxury in emerging countries like Egypt, Nigeria and Indonesia – they’ve evolved in recent years to an essential business tool. But the technology available to customers is still lagging way behind that of the western world. Micro enterprises (with fewer than ten employees) make up an astounding 98% of all the entrepreneurial activity in these three countries, and the number of women in the workforce is growing in most regions. They’re also embracing mobile technology, with a large proportion (88%) of female businesswomen declaring themselves willing and indeed eager to use mobile value added services to do more, if they were only available.
The research project looked into how improved services could help these women entrepreneurs to develop their small businesses into fabulous, flourishing enterprises. It found that from shop owners and toymakers in Lagos, to wedding dress makers in Jakarta, advertising and marketing is something that many struggle with, beyond the obvious local newspaper advertising and word-of-mouth. The ability to use mobile digital channels to promote their wares, find experienced staff and source more affordable materials, for example, would be absolutely priceless.
The Cherie Blair Foundation is going to be following up its findings with a pilot scheme to provide the aforementioned plucky businesswomen with specially tailored mobile phone applications that will inevitably work wonders for productivity as well as improving growth. This will in turn lead to better income and increased happiness and prosperity for the women involved, as well as their families and local communities… not to mention their countries. Sounds pretty Good to us.
Read the report in full on the Cherie Blair Foundation website: http://www.cherieblairfoundation.org/uploads/pdf/Mobile%20Value%20Added%20Services%20digital%20report.pdf