Giving Women the Skills and Support to Build Businesses and Become Leaders
Although in a growing number of emerging democracies women can now vote or hold office, often they cannot own property, register businesses, obtain commercial loans, or otherwise fully participate in the economy. In 2015, CIPE developed mentorship programs and provided technical assistance to business associations in order to support women to become more active participants in their economies and societies.
Working with Red de Empresarias de Nicaragua and the Association of Business Women in Serbia, CIPE developed a program that matched up successful women entrepreneurs with women starting out in business. Eighty women participated in the programs in Nicaragua and Serbia. Mentors helped mentees register their firms, enhance their marketing strategy, and build new partnerships with retailers. The programs also engaged with the media to raise awareness about why women entrepreneurs are important in a democratic society. Watch a video of mentors and mentees discussing the program in Nicaragua.
CIPE also partnered with the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization (ITCILO) and the Dutch Employers’ Cooperation Programme (DECP) to teach business associations how to better integrate women entrepreneurs as members and how to advocate on their behalf. Twenty association and chamber participants — from Fiji to Zambia to Montenegro — came together at the ITCILO training campus in Turin, Italy, to learn best practices in business association management and policy advocacy, as well as training techniques. Upon returning home, the participants implemented what they had learned from the workshop by educating their board, staff, and coalition partners on how to recruit women members and better address their needs.
Through both these programs, CIPE utilized best practices from around the world and its unique private sector networks to help women entrepreneurs build the skills to be successful, to support one another, and to be leaders and change agents in their communities.
Anti-Corruption and Ethics
Spreading Best Practices in Private Sector-Led Anti-Corruption Initiatives
Collective action by the private sector is becoming an important business strategy to counter corruption. CIPE has successfully engaged with partners in Mexico, Thailand, Turkey, and elsewhere to mobilize local business in joint anti-corruption efforts that establish compliance standards and promote implementation. This past year has demonstrated how anti-corruption initiatives with global visibility can encourage organizations in other countries to implement similar efforts.
Inspired by CIPE’s ongoing anti-corruption work with Thailand’s Institute of Directors, the Mauritius Institute of Directors (MIOD), a professional forum for public and private sector directors and managers, requested CIPE’s assistance to further its compliance training program and collective action coalition.
One of MIOD’s key objectives is to promote the highest standards of business and ethical conduct of directors serving on the boards of companies and state-owned enterprises. The collective action initiative that MIOD is developing with CIPE aims to address corruption through constructive business engagement. MIOD drafted an integrity pledge for businesses that lays out the specific and tangible steps that a company must take to reduce corruption-related risks. MIOD and CIPE are recruiting leading Mauritian companies and will train them on how to adopt the pledge and make it meaningful through firm-level anti-corruption compliance programs.
MIOD represents more than 1,000 firms operating across Africa as well as internationally. Just as Mauritius was inspired by CIPE’s anti-corruption initiative in Thailand, other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, and beyond can be inspired by the work being done in Mauritius. As each new country takes on the challenge, CIPE’s anti-corruption initiatives are gaining momentum around the world.