Tag Archives: women

Democracy that Delivers #94: Manizha Wafeq on Trailblazing the Creation of Afghanistan’s First Women’s Chamber of Commerce

From left: podcast guest Manizha Wafeq, guest host Jennifer Anderson and host Ken Jaques

Manizha Wafeq, a founder of the Afghanistan Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AWCCI), discusses the groundbreaking formation of the country’s first women’s chamber of commerce.

In 2014, a group of Afghan businesswomen, known as the Leading Entrepreneurs for Afghanistan’s Development (LEAD), arranged to meet with the country’s first lady and High Economic Council. The businesswomen appealed to the country’s powerbrokers to allow them to formally change their group’s name to the Afghanistan Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and they asked to be recognized as the country’s first official women’s chamber of commerce.

Three years later, on March 12, 2017, the group received official permission to changed its name and register with the Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industries. In this week’s podcast, Wafeq describes the arduous process and the significance of the milestone name change.

Despite working in the formal sector and creating jobs for the country, Wafeq explains that AWCCI is still needed because of the onerous hurdles Afghan businesswomen face. These obstacles include social and cultural barriers and limited access to markets and finance.

For more information on their accomplishments and news, visit AWCCI’s website. Watch our latest video learn more about CIPE’s partnership with other women’s chambers in South Asia.

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

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Insights for Global Entrepreneurship Week: The Connection Between Entrepreneurship and Democracy

A restaurant owner makes gözleme, a traditional Turkish pastry, in her small storefront in the Beşiktaş neighborhood of Istanbul. She opened her business four years ago, where she now works with two employees.

When business owners are given the freedom to innovate and support to get started, they launch companies that create jobs, provide needed goods or services, and fuel economies. In CIPE’s latest feature service article, Director of Knowledge Management Kim Eric Bettcher examines the connection between entrepreneurship and democracy— the cornerstones of a free society.

Global Entrepreneurship Week, which is observed in 160 countries, provides an opportunity for CIPE and others to spotlight key issues facing entrepreneurs and their communities, as well as a platform to share information about ground-breaking programs and successful strategies or approaches. CIPE is developing a new series of “Partner Portraits,” podcasts, reports, and blogs designed to provide additional insight and recognize individuals, organizations, and partners working on a multitude of global projects to strengthen democracy around the globe through private enterprise and market-oriented reform.

Economic empowerment for women continues to be a top concern worldwide. One inspirational leader and CIPE partner is Rezani Aziz, who recently founded the Federation of Women Entrepreneur Associations of Sri Lanka (FWEASL). Nearly 40 percent of women there are unemployed. Aziz describes some of the biggest hurdles facing women attempting to enter the Sri Lankan workforce and how her organization and others in the region hope to foster change on a new Democracy that Delivers podcast.

Meanwhile, the Women’s Business Resource Center in Papua New Guinea is celebrating its one-year anniversary. The Center is a U.S. State Department-funded initiative that is led by CIPE. In a country where women have few legal rights, the Center helps women of all backgrounds access business services, training, and support—free of charge and in a safe environment with round-the-clock security. Read CIPE Program Officer Sarah Yun’s blog for real-life stories about women who have benefited from the Center’s support.

Job creation efforts and new business growth present major challenges and opportunities in many societies. Consortium partners in Turkey just launched Livelihoods Innovation through Food Entrepreneurship (LIFE), one of CIPE’s newest projects. The program is intended to support sustainable livelihoods for Syrians and other refugees, as well as members of the host country. LIFE partners will establish two food business incubators in Istanbul and Gaziantep. In all, the project will support more than 200 entrepreneurs and over 1,000 workers in the food industry. Listen to Hans-Joachim Hogrefe with Refugees International discusses how the LIFE project will benefit the Turkish economy. Gastrodiplomacy expert Dr. Johanna Mendelson-Forman explains how food builds a sense of community and offers an opportunity for cultural exchange.

Anti-corruption and trade issues are top priorities in many nations. A new CIPE program in Colombia plays an important role in supporting the country’s ongoing peace process. With assistance from CIPE and others, Colombia’s government is offering incentives to businesses that expand operations in regions ravaged by years of violence.  The groups are reaching out to local communities for input on economic development. CIPE’s lead in-country consultant Jaime Arteaga explains how the efforts will pave the way for positive change and investment opportunities. Another result will be proposals to improve transparency and effectiveness, shares Víctor Saavedra, economist and a researcher with the think tank Fedesarrollo.

Youth entrepreneurship and mentoring is another priority. The Xelajú Naranja program in Guatemala in early 2017 is intended to help young men and women learn to be effective entrepreneurs, particularly in the cultural and IT sectors. Participants have received training in basic business principles and ways to get their creative enterprises off the ground.

In Africa, CIPE has partnered with Gambia’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry to establish a national business council for the private sector, as the country attempts to embrace democracy following two decades of dictatorship. Jeff Smith, Executive Director of the non-profit Vanguard Africa discusses current challenges, which include accountability issues.

Democracy that Delivers #93: Rezani Aziz on Women Entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka

From left: podcast guest Rezani Aziz, with hosts Pamela Kelley Lauder and Ken Jaques

In 1988, Rezani Aziz joined the Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Sri Lanka to network with other business women. Almost three decades later, she’s now the founder of the Federation of Women Entrepreneur Associations in Sri Lanka (FWEASL) and CEO of Adfactors PR. In this week’s podcast, Aziz shares the changes she’s witnessed and helped foster for women entrepreneurs from 1988 to today.

Aziz founded FWEASL to give women a voice and provide them with the know-how to become entrepreneurs. She says some of the biggest hurdles involve access to finance and job opportunities. Approximately 37 percent of Sri Lankan women are unemployed. FWEASL is developing programs to help women gain confidence to enter the workforce and the business world. Projects include training on how to request bank loans and advocacy for changes in labor laws. Aziz attributes much of the organization’s success to its partnership with CIPE and sister organizations in the region.

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

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Women’s Business Resource Center Helps Women Entrepreneurs in Papua New Guinea Succeed Against the Odds

Children and women make up the majority of market life in Gerehu, Papua New Guinea. Photo by Ness Kerton for AusAID.

Women in Papua New Guinea face distressing obstacles to achieving leadership roles in business, politics, their communities, and their families. Two-thirds of women there are victims of domestic violence, according to reports. Women and girls are frequently treated like property, and it is not uncommon for them to be bought and sold. Men are twice as likely as women to hold a formal job. It is also very difficult for women to access credit, receive bank loans, and even open a bank account.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and others have identified a potential solution this problem: women’s economic empowerment. Research shows that when women have greater economic opportunities and better access to financial resources, they face less risk of becoming victims of domestic violence. If women are able to engage in commerce and earn their own paychecks, they will no longer be financially dependent on their partners. Boosting women’s economic opportunities and gender equality leads to gross domestic product growth, increased income per capita, and greater competitiveness for countries, according to the World Bank.

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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.

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

Like this podcast? Please review us on iTunes.

 

Democracy that Delivers Podcast #75: Mark Oxley and Henry LaGue On Economic Progress in Zimbabwe

2011 CIPE Workshop in Zimbabwe

Henry LaGue sits down in the field with Mark Oxley, a CIPE consultant in Zimbabwe.

Oxley explains how he became involved with the country’s National Chamber of Commerce and CIPE, and he discusses the economic challenges facing Zimbabwe. Specifically, the country has a large number of highly educated individuals who are either unemployed or working in the informal sector. Despite economic difficulties, there are opportunities for investing in the country’s infrastructure and tourism.

LaGue provides an update on the accomplishments of the Women Alliance of Business Associations of Zimbabwe (WABAZ). CIPE supports WABAZ in building partnerships and networks among women entrepreneurs. CIPE also works with WABAZ to raise awareness on funding opportunities available to women entrepreneurs.

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.

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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