Why entrepreneurial skills? part 2

Women’s access to education and/ or ability to run a business is often severely constrained by a variety of factors. These can be cultural restrictions- husbands, fathers, or other male relatives tend to retain control over finances; women are unable to travel freely. These can be financial restrictions- many women lack access to credit in order to create a start-up business. These can be educational restrictions- within the developing world girls education is often undervalued leading to illiteracy in adulthood. These are only a few examples of female constraints to business success. However, all constraints should be assessed, monitored and considered when developing programs for women. Business education programs need to be tailored to address the specific needs and constraints facing self-employed women. Teach By Tech, Inc is an example of a nonprofit taking these constraints into consideration.  Because of the family care expectations and safety concerns of women in many regions of the world. Teach by Tech, Inc has developed a program that uses mobile phone technology to increase women’s access to business education. The pilot program specifically targets women ages 18-34, most of the education delivery is through mobile phones (to accommodate their mobility constraints). However, once a week the cohort and facilitator meet to discuss understanding, comprehension and model world scenarios for group discussions and problem solving exercises. On this day, free childcare (addressing their family responsibilities) is included as well as a small meal to offset lost wages.

While roughly one-third of the small and medium-sized enterprises in the developing world are run by women, their average growth rate as businesses is significantly lower than growth rates of SMEs led by men.[1] By targeting women and providing them access to entrepreneurial and business skills, development agencies can transform communities. Successful businesses create jobs, promote in-country investments and generate tax revenues. Women entrepreneurs running growth-oriented companies therefore represent a segment of society with great potential to spur economic growth. However, economic incentives are not the only reason to focus on female entrepreneur development, female entrepreneurs create a ripple effect. Data shows that women typically invest a higher proportion of their income back into their families and communities than men. By giving women a path to acquire and maintain control of  a greater proportion of household resources, it is often seen that the family allocates more money toward food and children’s education. By educating a woman in business and entrepreneurial skills, the entire community can benefit for generations to come.

 

Blog post by Linnie Pawlek, founder of Teach By Tech, Inc. a 501 (c)3 organization located in Colorado, USA. To learn more about how Teach By Tech is working to make education accessible to women of the urban slums in the developing world visit our webpage: www.teachbytech.org

 


[1] “Leveling an Uneven Playing Field”  https://www.infodev.org/infodev-files/women_entrepreneur_booklet_06182013_low_res.pdf