wegg® is grateful and thankful to the time, effort, and impact our esteemed sponsors have made to our nonprofit and to the hundreds, if not thousands, of women entrepreneurs and business owners who have also gained from their support to our programs.
In a recent Forbes article, Sara Weinreb reports on the crisis facing women artisan entrepreneurs in Guatemala regarding the rise of “fast fashion” businesses in the U.S. This issue is explored in depth in a new documentary by Eco-Age, Fashionscapes: Artisans Guatemaya. The work of women artisans in Guatemala is slow and sustainable, which greatly contrasts the cheap and disposable practices of large corporations. Fast fashion giants produce clothing with an emphasis on quantity, as opposed to the small businesses of Guatemala that focus on quality and environmental health.
Of the 17 million residents of Guatemala, one million are artisans. The main source of income for this demographic, most of which consists of women and girls, is now at risk of becoming obsolete. Weinreb explains,
“It’s a multi-generational craft, in which girls learn weaving and dying, starting as young as eight years old, from their mothers. The artistry is inspired by nature and the season, and garments are dyed using local produce such as avocados. Each piece is made by hand and can take up to a month to complete, which is radically different from the current fast fashion model. Artisan fashion is slow and sustainable at its core.”
The lasting harmful effects of mass production on the livelihood of women artisans is not only prevalent on a global business scale, but also extends into the very communities in which these women work. Weinreb details, “Local residents are choosing to forgo artisan-made pieces for second-hand items that are imported into the nation due to their low cost.” Furthermore, the designers in the U.S. and Europe, that appropriate the work of Guatemalan women, do not employ or collaborate with them in order to create ethical and authentic products.
There are organizations focused on protecting and empowering the women artisans of Guatemala, such as PACUNAM and Nest. And of course, wegg® is dedicated to furthering the success and reach of women entrepreneurs everywhere. Learn more about how we can help you go global, here.
When Cathy returned to her job after the birth of her daughter, she was told her position was no longer available. Rather than fight, she went to work for the company’s top competitor. She says it was the best thing that ever happened to her. It didn’t take long before Cathy started her own company, K-Tec Systems. Cathy has over 35 years of experience in this industry. With K-Tec Systems she has been a reliable source to the automotive, aerospace, food and chemical industries for over 28 years.
Cathy has gained her experience from her customers. Visiting them in their plants, watching them work, helping them with the technical challenges has led her to a better understanding of the processes. She also has proven her ability to find creative solutions by helping them optimize the manufacturing of their products.
Beyond her expertise and knowledge, her loyalty, dedication and resilience make her the right leader to bring success to K-Tec Systems.
Cathy is fully committed to reinvigorating the importance of quality over price and accurate test measurements. To give this new energy and raise the expectations for her company, Cathy envisions a culture that is based on creativity and a healthy work-space to attract and retain a talented workforce.
In the article, Unique Barriers Face Women-Owned Businesses, authors Maribel A. Dano-Luna (pictured left), Senior Researcher, and Rose Ann Camille (pictured right), Research Associate, Asian Institute of Management Rizalino S. Navarro Policy Center for Competitiveness, discuss the challenges women business owners face when exporting. We contacted Maribel and Rose Ann to find out what prompted them to write the article, why SMEs owned by men earn twice as much from share of exports versus women, and what can be done to further support women business owners to export more and be intimidated less. The edited excerpt of the interview follows.
Laurel Delaney: What prompted you to write the article?
Maribel A. Dano-Luna: The Asian Institute of Management R.S.N. Policy Center for Competitiveness conducts annual survey on small and medium enterprises (SMEs). For 2018, looking at women-owned SMEs has been pipelined in our research agenda and thus we wrote the working paper on Barriers to Scaling-up of [Women Small and Medium Enterprises] WSMEs. We are thankful for the Investing in Women Asia and ANU’s East Asian Forum Newsletter for picking up our study and giving us a platform to reach a wider audience through the commentary article.
LD: In your article you state, “while there are no significant differences in firm performance by gender, SMEs owned by men earned twice as much from share of exports to total sales compared with those owned by women.” Why is this and what can be done about it?
MDL: In the survey, we asked their reasons behind not exporting. Results show that in the Philippines, SMEs’ (both men and women-owned) top reasons for not exporting has to do with their entrepreneurial mindset – owner is content with the current state of business and they think it’s too risky. But specifically, women-owned SMEs compared with men-owned, are more likely not to export because of unsuccessful attempts in exporting in the past as well as lack of or difficult access to technology, raw materials or inputs. This signals the issue of confidence in terms of pursuing exporting which is generally perceived as risky.
We’ve had conversations last year with women entrepreneurs being assisted by the Philippine Commission on Women and they have raised the issue of difficulty in complying with exporting certification and standards, which contributes to the barrier for them to export and consequently, scale-up and grow.
LD: You also state, “The number one reason given for [women] not exporting was that the owner was content with the current state of business. Based on your findings, what can be done to further support women business owners to export more and be intimidated less?
Rose Ann Camille: In the Policy Center’s 2018 SME survey, results show that women entrepreneurs are more likely to place higher importance on mentoring or coaching programs for them to expand their business, including exporting. So, with a good mentoring program in place, it creates a positive impact on improving the entrepreneurial mindset of women entrepreneurs, making them more confident and less risk averse when it comes to engaging in exporting. Currently, we’re working with Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprises to assess the impact of mentoring programs to SMEs. Also, we’ve highlighted the importance of belonging to a business network to elevate the social capital of women entrepreneurs.
LD: Increasing exports is a high priority for governments who wish to stimulate economic growth. How should governments intervene to assist, in particular, female business owners to export?
RAC: More targeted policies to foster an encouraging environment for women to start or join business organizations that will guide them in exporting.
MDL: Although in our overall survey study, we find that only 5.6% of SMEs are member of business organizations and thus efforts in raising awareness on the benefits of memberships in business organizations can be heightened. I think another aspect that needs further focus is in capacitation of women-owned SMEs to comply with exporting certification such as the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) accreditation. It’s a good thing that DTI has now launched a partnership with FDA to capacitate entrepreneurs on this. Our study also points to WSMEs access to technology. As we have pointed out in the EAF article, technology-intensive SMEs owned by women are significantly more likely to scale up. However, they tend to make limited use of more sophisticated technology — for example, e-commerce, websites, digital payment or cloud-based storage. Policies encouraging these entrepreneurs to make better use of their technology could boost their capacity to develop.
LD: Beyond your findings, what is the hidden, underlying message? What are we missing for women business owners that can elevate them to match the performance of their male counterparts?
MDL: I think more than contrasting men and women-owned SMEs and looking at the significant difference in their performance, we’ve found out that there are significant differences when it comes to reasons behind why some women-owned SMEs do not engage in exporting, innovation, expanding, nor applying for a loan.
Both the mindset and technical aspects are crucial to elevate SME performance. Policy incentives influencing extensive use of more sophisticated technologies, especially with the advent of Fourth Industrial Revolution are crucial for SMEs to not only scale-up in terms of firm size and sales but as well as in management and employee skills.
RAC: In our study, we can’t conclusively say that the challenges that they [women business owners] face is solely attributable to their gender. It’s definitely a confluence of other factors. What we wanted to highlight is that while women are more likely to start a business in the Philippines, they still lag behind men in terms of making their business thrive beyond the start-up phase. As mentioned in our study, women are less likely to borrow, engage in any innovation or expansion activities compared with men because of risk aversion, or their thinking that they are already content with the current state of their business. Again, the entrepreneurial mindset of the women plays a key role.
In closing, wegg® assists with all of the challenges Maribel A. Dano-Luna and Rose Ann Camille discuss on where women business owners need help with exporting: mentoring to export, accessing technology to export and building up confidence to export. To learn more about the entrepreneurial mindset of a woman business owner who currently exports, join us for our next free-of-charge wegginar® where CEO Cathy Koch, K-Tec Systems, talks about her quest for borderless growth.
Ankiti Bose is on track to become the first Indian woman to co-found a $1 billion dollar start-up. The 27-year old mogul wants to use her success to empower other women entrepreneurs in Asian countries, as she told Karen Gilchrist in a recent article for Make It.
Bose’s start-up, Zilingo, launched in 2014, is a retail website that sells the clothing and textiles of entrepreneurs all over Asia. The site gives a platform to small-business owners who might not otherwise have the reach or resources to sell their products on a global level. Many of these entrepreneurs that Bose has helped include women who sell their work at pop-up markets in Asia.
Besides Zilingo being founded on empowering women entrepreneurs, Bose has also ensured that it is a 50% female company with 50% female leadership. Bose notes that she wants to see her own success happen to a-lot of other women, and she uses her platform to work towards just that. To achieve this goal, Bose urges women, “to continue demanding more of their employers and colleagues — whether that’s in terms of guidance or recognition.” As the Zilingo CEO, Bose has witnessed female colleagues “shy away from opportunities, while their male counterparts typically ‘negotiate hard’ for their salaries, positions, and even resignation packages.”
Her advice to other women in business?
“I think it’s important to ask for help, and it’s also important to ask for what you think you deserve. I’ve had situations where I’ve gone into negotiations with women saying ‘you’re asking for too little, don’t you know what you’re worth?’ In the end, I think [things] can only shift if there are enough women in leadership and decision-making positions. But to get there, we all have to work very hard.”
It thrills wegg® that Bose’s incredible success is built on a foundation of raising up her fellow women. Providing resources for female business owners is also a cornerstone of our work. Check out our website to learn more about our wegginars®, workshops, and weggchats®.
From all of us at wegg®, we wish Americans a warm and meaningful Memorial Day 2019.
It is a day when we as the country come together to honor and remember our servicemen and women who responded to the call of duty and paid the price. It is a day when we should take notice, stand up, and say “thank you for sacrificing your lives for our freedom and we remember you.”
It is estimated that 40% of Nigerian women are entrepreneurs. Despite the market for women-owned businesses being highly concentrated, the businesses that make up the “brightest and best” of Nigerian entrepreneurship are run by men. What accounts for this entrepreneurial inequity? The education gap between men and women in Nigeria.
In a recent article entitled, “Nigerian women entrepreneurs draw the short straw on education levels,” Tolu Olarewaju illustrates the systemic differences between the education received by Nigerian women in comparison to Nigerian men. Olarewaju delineates two subsets of business in Nigeria: high and low value entrepreneurship. He explains, “High value implies higher incomes and innovative goods and services and low value the opposite.” Besides low and high value, Nigerian entrepreneurship can also be described as being necessity-driven or opportunity-motivated. Olarewaju explains,
“Necessity-driven entrepreneurs are those who are pushed into starting businesses because they have no other source of income. Opportunity-motivated entrepreneurs are those who enter business ownership primarily to pursue an opportunity.”
74% of Nigerian women entrepreneurs in the early stage of their business reported to be opportunity-motivated, according to the most recent Global Entrepreneurship Monitor survey This was the same statistic reported for male entrepreneurs. However, there is still inconsistency between the perceived value of businesses run by men verses those run by women. Women’s businesses are usually classified as low value, while those of men are high value, generating higher income and innovation.
Olarewaju attributes this to the lack of educational opportunities given to women. Education and experience in business can often determine the success of an entrepreneur. If half of a country’s entrepreneurs are not afforded the same baseline of education to work from, then those entrepreneurs will not succeed as quickly as their counterparts. Olarewaju details the roots of this inequality,
“Our research confirmed that women in Nigeria generally have lower educational endowments than men and consequently, a higher proportion of them are engaged in non-innovative entrepreneurial ventures. Crucially, if Nigerian men and women had the same endowments in education, Nigerian women who have the same educational endowments as men would be able to create more entrepreneurial opportunities in high value ventures. Thus, the type of entrepreneurship Nigerian women engage in would naturally shift from hand-to-mouth necessity entrepreneurship to high value opportunity entrepreneurship.”
One of our goals at wegg® is to work towards ending the education gap between men and women entrepreneurs around the world. We provide free education on how women can take their businesses global. Most of our programming is online, and can be accessed through our website. Let’s help global women entrepreneurs be their brightest and best.
Welcome to our weggchat everyone. Thank you for joining us. Today we are delighted to have John Yunker, co-founder of Byte Level Research (www.bytelevelresearch.com) and wegg Specialist with us. Morning John and all!
Here is how our weggchat runs. We have 12 questions. I’ll send the first one as Q1, which shows it is official and then John @JohnYunker can respond w/A1. Everyone feel free to comment or share your experience relative to the questions. Let’s have fun, learn and grow global together! Don’t forget to include #weggchat in every tweet. Here we go!
Q1: Tell us about yourself. What drew you into web globalization, specifically translation?
John Yunker: My background was in marketing and web development. In the late 1990s I began localizing websites. At the time, there were no best practices for web globalization – so I co-founded @bytelevelresearch in 2000 to help change that. Since then I’ve worked with some of the largest global companies to improve their global sites and apps – as well as some of the smallest. I write the annual Web Globalization Report Card; the 14th edition came out recently. Wikipedia emerged number one overall. I am first and foremost a writer. I love language and consider myself a language generalist.
Q2: You’ve often talked about the information economy is the now the translation economy. What does this mean for all of us with websites?
JY: The Internet connects computers but language connects people. Which means that information is useless if you don’t understand it. That’s where translation fits in. Translation unlocks information for new and larger audiences. For too many years the Internet was dominated by English content and users. But English is no longer dominant. Fewer than 25% of Internet users are native English speakers. To reach more than 90% of all Internet users you need to support 40 approx. languages.
Q3: Why is global ecommerce so challenging?
JY: Just because people around the world can see your products and services does not mean they can comfortably and confidently purchase them. You may need to localize the products themselves to the market and culture. You will need to support local currencies and payment platforms. How will you handle customer support? Product returns? And how well will you ultimately fare against local competitors? Too many companies fail to fully survey their target markets before jumping in.
Q4: Is there on consistent trend in web globalization that we should be aware of?
JY: Language growth. Companies continue to expand their linguistic reach. Mobile. It’s not enough to make sure your website support mobile devices, you also need to support mobile scenarios. And be sensitive to slower networks in many markets. One of the easiest ways to improve the local user experience is to simply set aggressive weight limits with your website Balkanization. Countries and regions are exerting greater influence over the internet. A more decentralized website can help you adapt to this trend.
Q5: What are two essential stages to taking a website global? Do most companies get it right?
JY: Internationalization and localization, sometimes curiously abbreviated as i18n and l19n. The numbers refer to the number of missing characters. Internationalization is the process of creating a “world ready” site or app. Localization is the process of adapting to a specific market or region. Translation is one aspect. Most companies focus only on localization and forget that internationalization can significantly improve their localization processes (and cut costs) For example, a global template is one way of internationalizing a site (or app) so it can be more efficiently localized.
Q6: What’s a global gateway and what are the tools that companies can use to make this process seamless?
JY: A global gateway is everything you use to help visitors find their localized websites and content. It includes the visual global gateway that visitors may interact with to change locales It may also include backend technologies like geolocation and language negotiation. And it includes ccTLD (country codes) so that people can go directly to their local sites.
Q7: How does culture impact success or failure when developing a global website?
JY: Culture is what makes localization so incredibly challenging and unpredictable. Because every region and country has many cultures. And cultures change.
Q8: Is global consistency essential and possible when developing multiple websites in different countries? Is there such a thing as a global template? Any company who is doing this right that we can use as a model?
JY: Global consistency is absolutely essential, particularly if you’re a small business, because it allows you to scale your global presence more efficiently. Microsoft, Adobe, Wikipedia are three great examples.
Q9: For global small business owners, what’s the best way to globalize a website on a shoestring yet still achieve successful results?
JY: Set reasonable and reachable goals. For example, if you offer 100 products, perhaps pick just 1-10 for the target market. Study your global competitors. What markets have they selected and why? How are they doing? If you’re just starting out, pick markets that pose fewer legal, political and technical obstacles. China, for instance, is a very difficult market and I generally advise companies to look elsewhere when they are just starting out. And, yes, that means the UK is also a risky market to target right now because of Brexit. Engage with your local customers and pick their brains. Why did they choose your products? Who is the competition? Study the logistics and laws. How will you get products to your customers and how will this affect price? How do you handle returns? Email, voice, chat support? Find local vendors of similar size who can act as true localization partners. Ideally your vendors have a local presence in the market.
Q10: Any perils to premature web globalization?
JY: Many! If you take your website global but can’t manage multilingual email requests, you’re in trouble. And I’ve witnessed companies that did a poor job of localization, saw little traffic to the sites, and then decided there was no local demand. Instead of realizing that THEY had failed their customers. The demand was there but they didn’t properly serve it.
Q11: Is there an ultimate global checklist available that covers many of the key issues companies face when taking a product or service global?
Q12: What’s the one thing you’d like to leave everyone with today that we missed?
JY: Empathy is the “secret sauce” of global success. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes, which means understanding their mobile devices, networks, cultures, fears, and frustrations. In effect, do all the things you did when you first began serving your first group of customers. Going global is about succeeding locally, one country, region, and culture at a time.
wegg® knows that one key for women entrepreneurs to achieve success, and go global, is by staying on top of the ever-changing trends in business. In a recent Forbes article, Julie Niehoff of WomensMedia details 5 ways that women in business can stay current.
Hire Help for Hiring
It’s no secret that the labor market is the most competitive it has been in 20 years. A way for large businesses to stay on top of this is to bring on a hiring consultant, “to help source and sign quality candidates.”
Smaller organizations can turn to sites like, “Indeed, Zip Recruiter and WizeHire.com to lure quality talent.” Expanding their hiring criteria, and writing the most detailed job description possible, are other ways for small businesses to secure the best team.
2. Mindset Over Matter
How can women entrepreneurs get more than money from the time and effort that they put into their businesses? Feeling a sense of fulfillment is key for a businesses owner to continuously produce high-performing results.
Niehoff consults Business Coach Elyse Tager, who reports, “Women are getting clear about how they want to live their lives…I’m focused on helping clients listen to their inner voice and find the best way to infuse purpose into their daily life.” One way for women in business to take a step towards this clarity is by making a “list of what you want and what you no longer want, illustrating what success really looks like.” Knowing where you want to go is the only way to get there.
3. Subtle Shift From Small To Local
Recently, the term “small businesses” has shifted to “local businesses.” Very few entrepreneurs want to be identified as “small.” Niehoff highlights the power of local businesses, stating,
“Local always seems to fit and does not mean you can’t be a global player. It means you have roots—you matter to and care about a specific community.”
A way for local business owners to take action is to define their, “local reach, and change the settings on [their] Facebook page to appear as a local business. Then see if more prospects find [them]—chances are good they will.”
4. Personalize To Grow Faster
Personalizing a customer’s experience, such as using their first name and gauging their specific needs, is a way to stand out in a competitive marketplace. A “one-size-fits-all marketing approach” cannot be relied on, according to Andri Kristinsson, “CEO of Travelade. Travelade is a “travel company that combines personalization with crowdsourced recommendations curated by locals.”
5. Less Is More.
In the fast-paced world that we live in, it is more important than ever to keep any messaging to potential customers, “short, sincere and no-frills.” Niehoff points out, “Most people see your messages on a cell phone. If getting to the action item you want requires more than two thumb swipes, they probably aren’t doing it.”
wegg® serves as a steady guide and resource for global women entrepreneurs throughout the ever-evolving trends of the business world. Check out the many resources on our website, such as our wegginars®, weggchats®, and workshops, to see how we can help you.
Join us for our wegg® workshop on Wednesday, June 5th and hosted by Radio Flyer (6515 W. Grand Ave. | Chicago, IL 60707) from 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Central time.
Why should you care about company culture? A company culture that fosters employee happiness means lower turnover and better company performance. Employees are loyal and companies perform better. Culture sustains company enthusiasm and happiness.
Integrates recognition and high accountability to focus on purpose & performance
Implements 5 key people first practices
Parking at Radio Flyer
The entrance to the gated parking lot is off of Natchez Avenue (refer to attached parking map). Once you pull up to the gate, the receptionist will greet you via the coaster boy kiosk. Once the gate opens, proceed to the left to park. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact 773-797-9123.
About Amy Bastuga, Chief People Officer, Radio Flyer
Amy Bastuga joined Radio Flyer, home of the iconic little red wagon, tricycles and other ride-on toys, in 2007. As Chief People Officer, she brings her HR expertise to a growing organization whose vision is to create an innovative environment where every employee says “I love my job.” She helps lead Radio Flyer to sustain a high performance culture and company that is recognized as a best place to work. With her guidance, Radio Flyer has received numerous workplace awards to date. She leads the development of strategic engagement programs and top notch talent acquisition practices. She creates best in class development experiences through Wagon U, an internal curriculum that provides programs and tools that build the capabilities of all Flyers to help advance their personal and professional growth.
The wegg workshop is designed to give participants an introductory understanding of what is involved in taking a business global.
Purpose of workshop
The workshop is intended for students aspiring to go global, small business owners, entrepreneurs, and attendees at wegg's wegginar series a chance to meet in person together to stimulate a discussion around the benefits and challenges to exporting. Our goal with the workshop is to unlock export potential in each person’s business.