Tag Archives: entrepreneurship

A Call for Democratic Re-engagement

Protest in Warsaw, Poland. Photo by Lukasz Kaminski.

Every year on September 15, the United Nations’ International Day of Democracy offers an opportunity to reflect on the state of democracy and the challenges facing it. This year’s theme spotlights the need to strengthen democratic institutions against a backdrop of increasing disparities of economic opportunity.

In Central and Eastern Europe, those disparities have become more prominent in recent years, heightening the need to re-examine assumptions about the region’s transitions. Although the region made great strides in building democratic institutions and growing market economies over the course of two decades, the quality of—and support for—democracy has started to decline. Corruption has become a way of life in Hungary, where the government doles out public money based on political loyalty and friendships. In Poland, the government has exerted undue influence over the judiciary system, depriving citizens of their fundamental democratic freedoms.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #79: Masooma Sibtain on Women’s Chamber of Commerce in South Asia

From left: podcast guest Masooma Sibtain, with Jennifer Anderson, guest host Marc F. Schleifer and host Ken Jaques.

This week on CIPE’s Democracy that Delivers podcast, Masooma Sibtain, president of the South Punjab Women’s Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SPWCCI) in Pakistan, discusses the current state of women entrepreneurs in South Asia.

Born and raised in Pakistan, Sibtain says women in her country have always participated in the work force. However, most of their jobs have been in the informal sector as artisans. The regional women’s chambers are transforming Pakistani women from informal artisans to entrepreneurs by helping them to market and sell their products.

Sibtain says because of CIPE, the other women’s chambers in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh learn from and support one another. Sibtain credits her chamber, its members and CIPE for teaching her the importance of support systems and advocacy.

Want to hear more? Listen to previous podcasts at CIPE.org/podcast.

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Women Entrepreneurs in South Asia are Critical to the Region’s Economic Growth

Women work at a chili flake production facility owned by a Nepalese woman who used to carry stones to help send her brothers to school. Her business exports chili flakes to the United Kingdom.

By Jennifer Anderson and Maria Philip

Healthy, vibrant democracies must deliver for all of their citizens. Women’s full economic participation, control over their financial circumstances, and greater decision-making power are essential to building gender-equitable political and economic systems. Moreover, it has been shown that women’s economic empowerment can have a positive multiplier effect, leading to political and economic gains that benefit society as a whole. Yet research also shows that it is insufficient to focus solely on income-generating projects for women. Rather, to empower women as equal stakeholders, it is necessary to build a gender-inclusive business-enabling environment that allows women to start and grow their own businesses.

In the evolving democracies of South Asia, the majority of women are blocked from full economic and civil participation by a range of formal and informal obstacles, including laws and regulations, and cultural and societal norms. Women in the region continue to trail their peers in other parts of the world. Indicators for women’s employment, income, and wealth in South Asia are particularly dismal, and the region is the slowest in the world to equalize laws affecting women’s employment and entrepreneurship. From 2014 to 2016, the region enacted just three reforms to increase women’s economic opportunities—the fewest reforms out of 65 economies.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #73: Majdi Hassen on Economic Reform Initiatives in Tunisia

Podcast guest Majdi Hassen and guest host Anna Kompanek

On this week’s Democracy the Delivers podcast, Institut arabe des chefs d’entreprises (IACE) Executive Director Majdi Hassen talks with CIPE’s Anna Kompanek about the economic reform initiatives his organization is undertaking in Tunisia. IACE is an independent, non-profit think tank based in Tunis. Since Tunisia’s revolution, Hassen has overseen IACE’s growth into a “think-and-do” tank that plays a vital role in convening diverse political and civic actors to discuss urgent economic problems.

Hassen has developed a series of IACE programs designed to bring leadership skills and civic awareness to young entrepreneurs, policymakers, and stakeholders in Tunisia. He has been instrumental in organizing IACE’s Enterprise Days, Tunisia’s biggest economic forum, which gathers over 1,000 national and international policymakers, business leaders, and experts to discuss critical private sector issues.

Kompanek and Hassen discuss a public-private dialogue effort – the National Business Agenda – that has brought together voices in the business community to provide the government with constructive recommendations for economic reform. They also discuss a hotline that has been set up in Tunisia to help local businesses deal with red tape and bureaucratic hurdles.

Learn more about IACE’s work: http://www.iace.tn/

Want to hear more? Listen to previous podcasts at CIPE.org/podcast.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #72: Randa Al-Zoghbi on the launch of finance app Tamweely

Podcast guest Randa Al-Zoghbi

In this episode of Democracy that Delivers, podcast guest Randa Al-Zoghbi, CIPE’s Program Director in Egypt, discussed the release of their new app, Tamweely, in partnership with the World Bank.

The app is designed to connect financiers to small businesses and entrepreneurs in Egypt seeking start-up funding, as well as to provide business education tools and information about the institutional and legal environment for entrepreneurs and startups. Al-Zoghbi also discusses the economic situation in Egypt and the many challenges facing the business community there, and where she sees the app going in the future.

To find out more about Tamweely, visit the app store, android store, or go to their website: tamweely.org.

Want to hear more? Listen to previous podcasts at CIPE.org/podcast.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or on your Android device.

Like this podcast? Please review us on iTunes.

Democracy that Delivers Podcast #66: Maya Eristavi on Georgian Women and their Role in the Business Community

Podcast guest Maya Eristavi (second from left) with the recipients of the Women Leader Award at the 3rd
Annual Women’s Role in Economic Growth and Policy Development Conference. Photo Courtesy of G4G.

On this week’s Democracy that Delivers podcast, Maya Eristavi, CIPE’s representative with USAID’s Governing for Growth (G4G) Project, talks about the role of women in Georgia and how women in business have been taking on a larger role in society, especially since the fall of the Soviet Union. She also talks about the young entrepreneurs and businesswomen who have benefitted from the comprehensive free-trade agreement Georgia has with Europe.

Eristavi also reflects on growing up in Tbilisi, studying abroad in America, and how this shaped her attitude towards business and put her on the path to where she is today.

Want to hear more? Listen to previous podcasts at CIPE.org/podcast.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or on your Android device.

Like this podcast? Please review us on iTunes

Meet the 2016 Photo Competition Winner

Winning photo: Karybekov Janyl, President of the Crafts Council of Kyrgyzstan

CIPE is pleased to announce the winner of the 2016 Photo Competition! The theme of the 2016 competition was highlighting creative and inspiring visuals that demonstrate democratic leadership or individuals advocating for democratic values and reform.

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