UPS announced a series of capacity-building workshops for female entrepreneurs in several markets across Asia Pacific, in partnership with organisations such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the International Trade Centre’s (ITC) SheTrades initiative.
According to a study by the United Nations (UN), limiting women’s participation in the workforce is costing the Asia Pacific region an estimated US$89 billion annually. While the region has made inroads in women’s entrepreneurship, evidenced by their ownership of 59% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), their businesses tend to be concentrated in lower-value activities. They also appear to be significantly less internationally oriented than male-owned businesses in expanding beyond borders and participating in regional and global value chains. With Asia Pacific accounting for close to 40% of global merchandise exports according to the UN, international trade presents vast opportunities for women entrepreneurs.
The workshops are part of UPS’s Women Exporters Programme (WEP), a global initiative that aims to empower women-owned businesses with the knowledge and skills to take their products across borders, export around the globe and increase their market share. The WEP adopts a three-pronged approach comprising:
- Capacity building through workshops and webinars to educate women business owners and their employees about customs regulations, supply chain processes, trade agreements and export opportunities.
- Improving market access by partnering with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and governments, while leveraging UPS’s comprehensive product portfolio for small businesses to help women entrepreneurs identify market access opportunities and tap high-demand industries that suit their skills and circumstances
- Enabling regulatory frameworks by engaging in conversations about policy barriers that discriminate against women who want to export, while also aiming to foster a regulatory environment that enables greater export growth by women-owned businesses.