Increasingly, the positive connection among women, their economic empowerment, the growth of economies, and the well-being of communities is recognized around the world. However, not enough is known about the challenges faced globally by women entrepreneurs and business owners who are trying to access new markets to grow their businesses.
Building on similar research conducted by WEConnect International in India in 2015, the year-long project, launched in April 2016, is generating data about women’s economic empowerment and women’s business growth in the region. The data will support WEConnect International’s efforts to identify, educate, and certify women's business enterprises that are at least 51% owned, managed, and controlled by one or more women, and connect them with member buyers. Committed to inclusive sourcing, these member buyers represent more than US$1 trillion in annual purchasing power.
The data presented at the Forum will also feed into evidence-based policy dialogues to enhance women’s entrepreneurship in Latin America and the Caribbean. The data provides a snapshot of 200 certified businesses in the region, including information collected from the industry sector, revenue, number of employees, legal incorporation status, access to lines of credit, and market focus.
Preliminary research about WEConnect International’s women-owned businesses in Chile reveals:
- Companies employ an average of eight employees
- Only 10% of companies are exporting
- 98% of companies have access to credit through a financial institution
- Financial institutions have extended more than $6,300,000 to women-owned businesses
- The average loan amount is $125,000 in Chile, among the highest in the organization’s Latin American businesses
The project leverages the significant investments made by its corporate members in the development of a searchable database of women’s business enterprises based in 100 countries, including several throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.