Emerging Markets Power Ahead with Female Entrepreneurs


‘Women are Enjoying Entrepreneurship in the Emerging World’

The number of female entrepreneurs is rising. In Nigeria, 41% of women are entrepreneurs. In Ecuador, the figure is 33%. In Ghana, 28%. These countries are not alone. On the number of women who are entrepreneurs, the ten leading countries are all emerging markets. On this front, the West is falling behind, as the emerging markets lead the way. Globally, 37% of enterprises in the formal sector are run by women. Emerging nations have contributed greatly to this rise in female entrepreneurship.

Big names and big sums have been dedicated to continuing this trend. Coca-Cola has invested strongly in the development of female entrepreneurship. In 2013, Coca-Cola, together with the International Finance Corporation, announced that they would pledge $100m to help female entrepreneurs succeed in business. Coca-Cola and the International Finance Corporation launched the three-year scheme, with a focus specifically on small and medium-sized businesses. This is exactly where it should be targeted. Smaller and medium-sized businesses comprise the majority of the enterprises in most emerging markets. This is also true of the West. 97% of businesses in Nigeria could be classified this way. In the European Union, they account for 65% of business turnover. With funding targeted to smaller groups, Coca-Cola and the International Finance Corporation can empower women in creating their own businesses from scratch. This allows them to be entrepreneurs from the very beginning.

Female Entrepreneur: women speed past on a motorbike

The scheme is specifically for the emerging countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and aims to economically empower five million women by 2020. It is known as the 5 by 20 programme, and it has already begun to affect positive change. Coca-Cola and the International Finance Corporation have partnered with existing banks and financial institutions in emerging markets. This has allowed them to deliver the assistance more effectively. 5 by 20 has already yielded significant results. In Brazil alone, 30,000 women were helped through a recycling scheme. Partnering with the China Women’s Development Foundation, the 5 by 20 scheme aims to reach half a million Chinese women by 2020. In Nigeria, Coca-Cola have partnered with Access Bank to expand micro-finance access for women.

But it is not only Coca-Cola and other large initiatives promoting female empowerment through entrepreneurship. Often, the first port of call for those wanting to start a business are family and friends. In many emerging countries, many women receive loans through family and personal networks. In Nigeria, 42% of women received loans from family and friends, compared to 2% from financial institutions. In Uganda the figures are 46% and 9% respectively. It is clear that this expansion in female entrepreneurship is grassroutes in nature. But with large international corporations beginning to promote it, it can only increase.



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