Women’s Input in Building the Future of Business in Singapore

Although gender balance has been seen only as a women’s issue, it is also a business issue. According to a recent study by McKinsey Global Institute, it is estimated that if women in Asia-Pacific were accorded equal opportunity at work, they would generate an additional GDP annually that would be the same as an economy the size of both Germany and Austria put together. Besides the economic contribution, women in leadership are practical role models of change and progress among their people.

The Story of a Woman Changing the Fashion Industry

When talking about women’s positive contribution, the story of one woman who co-founded a lady’s fashion business brings it out so clearly. Her business was Singapore’s maiden fashion rental subscription platform. She and her partner optimized the opportunities presented by technology and data innovation to transform women’s lifestyle dramatically. They addressed one significant issue that most of the women grapple with: having a full wardrobe yet feeling like they have no clothes to wear.

Brought the Right Product

The female entrepreneur managed to get the right product that satisfies the customer’s need and fulfils their desires. This was through continuous learning and adjusting to suit the market as well as extensive consumer research and market experimentation. In less than three years, the business had managed to acquire a team of 150 staff and was still increasing with a growing community and following in Singapore and Indonesia. It is also believed to be South-East Asia’s largest fashion rental subscription platform.

Such are the achievements that women can make given a chance, and in an enabling country like Singapore, it is no wonder that any budding entrepreneur should highly consider the island state when looking for places to invest overseas. Foreign entrepreneurs need to start by engaging Visa Express to get help and advice in acquiring a visa to Singapore and then follow all of the other procedures.

Hurdles Faced by Women

While influential women are celebrated on International Women’s Day, we must appreciate the hurdles that women have to overcome as they look for a means to achieve a more gender-balanced world.For an in-depth look at the differences between men and women business owners, their needs, and their experiences, the Future of Business Survey was analyzed. This was a joint effort by Facebook, the World Bank, and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It studied the 90 million-plus businesses on Facebook across the globe and is among the widest and most global surveys of SMEs ever done.

According to the survey, the following emerged as the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in Singapore and the region: lack of external funding and having family demands stand in the way of their businesses, depriving them of the networks necessary for growth and expansion. Female business owners also lacked role models to shape them into leaders and support systems to offer guidance and mentorship.

All is not Gloomy and Hopeless

Despite the challenges, women have reasons to be optimistic because digital technologies are offering flexibility that is levelling the ground. This has seen the emergence of a new generation of female business owners and even one-woman businesses that are going international by relying on the support offered by their communities and the growing conversations to grow and scaleup. Globally, a substantial number of SMEs on Facebook are owned by women.In the survey of 95 countries, about 39% of small business owners on Facebook were women. Among Singaporean female business owners, 90% said that social media helped to grow their businesses. Female entrepreneurs in Singapore also said that they had benefited from the roles of community and mentorship where about 60% said that they had a role model, of which 75% of them said they had a female role model.

Connection and mentorship are key in realizing a dream or not, and for that, Facebook went on to invest in #Shemeansbusiness. This is a worldwide initiative geared towards helping women move a step ahead in their business venture.It offers financial help, advice, acquisition of skills, and a community of mentors and peers to offer the much-needed moral support and advice. Over 130,000 women have acquired skills so far in the Asia Pacific through this initiative by Facebook.

Final Thought

Women can build the future of business, too, and all they need is to have a level playground like men. When they have the funding, skills, and mentorship, they can easily establish and grow businesses. With technological advancement, they can share ideas and support each other to scale greater heights in entrepreneurship.

Thanks to E. Clark

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