Women Entrepreneurs Becoming Force in the Developing World
Monday, July 1, 2013
You may not have heard of the “third billion,” but you may one day feel their impact. The third billion is a term used to describe the billion women, mostly from emerging markets, who will join the global economy as employees, employers and entrepreneurs over the next decade.
From India to Turkey, women entrepreneurs are on the leading edge of this shift, poised to transform their local economies and, in doing so, change the world.
“We believe that women are tremendous, untapped investments that yield huge returns for entire communities,” says Natalie Byrne, director of global impact at skincare company Dermalogica. In 2010, Dermalogica and the nonprofit Kiva launched the Financial Independence Through Entrepreneurship (FITE) program to help women entrepreneurs start or grow their own businesses. To date, it has provided microfinance loans to 30,000 women across 68 countries.
While the experiences of women entrepreneurs in the developing world are as diverse as the countries they inhabit, since the difficulties facing a small woman-owned business in Vietnam looks nothing like that of a new venture in, say, Turkey or India, there are some common challenges.
For example, Melek Pulatkonak, founder and curator of the Turkish Women’s International Network, says education and training play an important role in improving the economic position of women. While about two-thirds of the world’s illiterate adults are female, research shows that educated mothers are more likely to participate in the labor force.