Tuesday February 21, 2023

Empowering women micro-entrepreneurs through mobile

Person looking at mobile phone smiling, light is reflecting on face in dark room

In low-income countries, 88% of working-age women earn income through self-employment, yet they are more likely than men to be disadvantaged when it comes to accessing the resources they need to start, run and grow a business. Mobile phones can provide a gateway to business services, resources and information that may not be within easy reach otherwise, from better access to markets and financial services, to improved business management practices and business capacity building.  

Women micro-entrepreneurs each have different characteristics, challenges and needs. Understanding these differences is important to inform appropriate product design, marketing and distribution approaches and other interventions to reach them with mobile services and products.  

This landscaping report, based on an extensive literature review and expert interviews, illustrates how women micro-entrepreneurs in low- and middle-income countries are currently using mobile phones for their businesses to connect with suppliers and customers, market their products and facilitate financial transactions. Yet women micro-entrepreneurs face substantial barriers to accessing and using these services, such as lower digital skills and affordability of mobile phones and data plans. The report also uncovers the opportunities for mobile ecosystem stakeholders to offer them more fit-for-purpose mobile products and services, through gender-disaggregated data collection and use, design and delivery of gender-intentional mobile products and services and digital skills training, among other measures. 

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