Women’s business spreading with SheTrades
A two-day session on women in trade and a business networking organized by the International Trade Centre's SheTrades in the Commonwealth project was held at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel on July 17-18.
The SheTrades initiative aims to connect three million women to the market by 2021. The initiative brings together stakeholders around the world to work on seven actions to address trade barriers and create greater opportunities for women entrepreneurs. Whereas, the Commonwealth programme aspires to increase economic growth and create job opportunities in the Commonwealth countries by exacerbating the number of women-owned businesses in the international trade.
Participants include up to 16 of ITC's private-sector partners (large corporations and multinationals) and representatives from 10 Bangladeshi women-owned businesses (WOBs).
The SheTrades in the Commonwealth (STC) project is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and is implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC) over two years, from April 2018 - March 2020. Part of ITC's SheTrades initiative, the project aims to increase economic growth and job creation in Commonwealth countries by enabling the increased participation of women-owned businesses in international trade.
Simon Balfe, Program Officer, Sustainable and Inclusive Chains, Division of Enterprises & Institutions, ITC, Michelle Kristy, Associate Expert, Tanvir Ahmad, Country Coordinator Bangladesh, Richard Beniston , Women & Trade Programme, policy officer trade for development UK Aid, Christina Toepell, trade preferences policy adviser UK Aid, and many others were present in this programme .
After the programme the corresponded of The Daily Observer talked to the Programme officer of SheTrade in the Commonwealth project, Simon Balfe.
He said, "ITC, The International Trade Centre, is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals."
"SheTrades in the Commonwealth has worked with 336 women-owned businesses in Bangladesh - 58 and 278 from the IT and Business Process Outsourcing and Textile and Apparel sectors respectively. STC has also engaged 11 local business support organisations to provide better and more services to WOBs. For instance, our partner, the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) has initiated a special investment service for women-owned enterprises," he added.
"As a result of our business generation and capacity building activities, we have directly or indirectly created up to 1,107 jobs for women and generated up to 9,669,000 USD in business leads," he stated.
He said, "I think increased trade to economic growth, Job and prosperity, when women prosper, they spend on health, nutrition and education accelerating the achievement of the SDGs. In economic terms advancing women's equality could add $28 trillion to global GDP by 2015."
"Our plan to empower women through trade by seven global actions they are - champion quality data, fair policies, secure government contracts, strike business deals, enable market access, unlock financial services and grant Ownership rights," he mentioned.
"She trades plays a leadership role in shaping the global development agenda on trade and gender to create long term systemic change. She trade furthers their objectives through data collection, including large scale firm surveys to assess gender related obstacles to trade and drives of competitiveness, with the goal of prompting evidence driven policy making," he added.
"In addition, she trade skills, mentors and connects women to over $ 1 billion in trade by 2020," he concluded.