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SheTrades platform to launch in September

Caribbean Development Bank, CDB, the designated host institution for the SheTrades Caribbean Hub aimed at supporting women-led businesses to access markets and investment opportunities, will launch the platform near the end of this month.

The SheTrades Caribbean Hub will be accessible by the bank’s 19 borrowing member countries.

It’s to be launched at a regional symposium on September 26, CDB said.

Originally established in 2015, the SheTrades initiative is the International Trade Centre’s flagship women and trade programme. It aims to provides women entrepreneurs with access to resources and networks to help grow and develop their businesses.

Globally, the initiative is delivered through decentralised platforms that facilitate all in-country interventions.

The CDB noted that there is currently a growing global network of 14 SheTrades Hubs across Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America.

In information supplied to the Financial Gleaner, the CDB said that the regional hub will work to identify women entrepreneurs through a SheTrades network of partners, comprised of “in-country focal points representing business support organisations and other key national stakeholders”.

Those local partners will also receive institutional support.

The level of involvement of institutions in Jamaica was not disclosed, nor were the potential funding levels for SheTrades users. The CDB also did not share data on female traders in the region and their needs, saying more information would be available at the launch.

A World Bank study published July 2020 entitled Women and Trade: The Role of Trade in Promoting Women’s Equality, noted that in developing countries, women make up 33 per cent of the workforce of exporting firms compared with just 24 per cent of non-exporting firms. Also among its key findings, the study asserted that companies in trade employ more women, create better jobs for them, and increases women’s wages and economic equality.

“When women are employed in sectors with high levels of exports, they are more likely to be formally employed in a job with better benefits, training, and security,” the World Bank report noted.

“Trade increases women’s wages and increases economic equality: Developing countries that double their manufacturing exports – a typical increase for developing countries that open themselves to trade – would see women increase their share of total manufacturing wages from 24 per cent to 30 per cent through a combination of increased employment and higher salaries,” it said.

The CDB said that women entrepreneurs can register to join the SheTrades Caribbean Hub by completing a brief needs assessment form.

“We also encourage all women-led and women-owned businesses to sign up to the platform to network with women entrepreneurs across the globe, access the SheTrades Virtual Learning Space and more,” the CDB said.

“Women entrepreneurs will also have the opportunity to get connected to potential buyers, investors, suppliers, and business support organisations, apply for fundraising opportunities (SheTrades Invest), and increase their visibility in international markets,” the bank noted.

Other benefits may come in the form of support to participate in regional or international trade fairs, or opportunities to participate in onsite or virtual training of trainers, and coaching for women business operators on matters such as digitalisation, crisis management and risk assessment, or export readiness.

No specific trade segments were identified as being targeted, in either the goods or service sectors.

The CDB said SheTrades contributes to No. 5 of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, which addresses gender issues; No. 8 relating to decent work and economic growth; and No. 17, which speaks to the issue of partnership for the achievement of all SDG goals.

The SDG programme has 17 goals and 169 targets that all 191 UN members are committed to achieving by year 2020.

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