Our press conference yesterday with the local Cebu press to talk about the Cebuanas on the Web Summit 2013 happening on August 22, 2013 at Oakridge Pavilion was a great success. Thanks to the wonderful help of our contributing sponsors and PRWorks, Inc.
While organizing and coordinating the event with the GBG Cebu members, the official organizer of the summit, I realized that we needed stats to know the current state of entrepreneurship for women here in the Philppines.
I got a feedback from SPARK Philippines and received a study from the APEC and The Asia Foundation called the Access to Trade and Growth of Women’s SMEs in APEC Developing Economies: Evaluating Business Environments in Malaysia – Philippines – Thailand. The 62-page document gave me a general overview on the status of women-owned businesses and the recommendations from APEC and regional entities and economy-level policies. On the study, I picked up some relevant items that can be solved by an incoming event that we have, the Cebuanas on the Web Summit 2013.
1. Need for empowerment via social services and role models
While women own 69% of nascent businesses, only 34% of established businesses are owned by women. Where are they now after creating a startup? A factor that keeps women from managing and operating a business is the challenge of managing time. How do you keep a business afloat but at the same time putting family responsibilities into the picture?
The study mentioned that “women are typically found in activities that permit them to balance family responsibilities with income generating activities such as retail trade, food preparation or home-? based piecework.”
As for social services available to help out with these, they are generally insufficient.
What about role models?
According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, people that start businesses are more likely to know other entrepreneurs than those who do not. So the same is true for women. How do newbie women business owners put up a business if there’s no one in their family is entrepreneurial?
I have added these two items into one group because in the absence of support services from entities, it is important that women find role models who they could look up to when it comes to empowerment and juggling the role of being an entrepreneur and role of being the primary homemaker.
2. Need for business innovation via technology
Access to technology is a recurring recommendation in the study. The study points out that “SME business associations and networks should establish training programs to help women business owners more effectively use technology.”
There a lot of free tools online and worth mentioning are those from Google where you can get tools for reaching your intended market, getting more leads, or managing your business. This is what we are discussing at the summit.
Free mentorship is good. Why pay for events?
Cebu’s environment seems to be very different from that in Manila. Our panel discussed this during the summit when we were asked for statistics if the women in other regions are more knowledgeable in technology that the Cebuanas here in Cebu.
My answer to that is there is an influx of learning events in Manila for example. Every single week you would find a number of learning events on technology, business, networking. And most of those are paid events. The people there are more willing to invest in their learning that the crowd in Cebu. It takes “training” to point the benefits of filtering those who are willing to pay and those who aren’t.
Free learning events act as mass mentorship and a starting point of awareness for those who are interested. Need more training? There are paid events and consultants like us at Third Team Media to help out with further needs for a business to learn more.
3. Need for business networking
A lot of professionals can attest to the power of networking. For me, it has also been very helpful in finding networks that can help me with Third Team Media.
The study recommends the following: “Build the capacity of SME business associations and networks to reach women-owned firms. Support exchanges among business women in different economies to promote the sharing of best practices and the development of their regional networks.”
Networking is not just meant to get customers and clients. It is also a way to meet peers who have the same challenges as you have a business owner and comparing notes can go a long way especially if you are in the same industry.
The long term purpose for us at GBG Cebu would be to connect, inform, inspire. And the summit is not a one-off event for women. It is a way to encourage them to step up and show up instead of just being behind the scenes and sticking to routines.
To those who are interested, full details of the Cebuanas on the Web Summit 2013 on August 22 at https://sites.google.com/site/cebuanasonthewebsummit/
Hopefully this encourages the full and equal participation of women in business to contribute to growth and prosperity not just in Cebu but in the rest of the region.