October 25, 2016


How to Improve Data Collection to Transform Knowledge on Women-Owned Businesses into Impact

SANTIAGO – Within the framework of its Annual Forum in Chile “Linking Women-Owned Businesses to Multinational Value Chains,” WEConnect International will present preliminary results of a study being prepared with the support of Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

Increasingly, the positive connection among women, their economic empowerment, the growth of economies, and the well-being of communities is recognized around the world. However, not enough is known about the challenges faced globally by women entrepreneurs and business owners who are trying to access new markets to grow their businesses.

“Women business owners are facing a broad spectrum of challenges across Latin America and the Caribbean. This project will identify those obstacles, but also reveal the unique business environment in which women entrepreneurs operate in each country,” said Belisa de las Casas, Regional Director for Latin America at WEConnect International. “Going forward we will be able to improve and tailor our trainings and events to fit the needs of our women’s business enterprises on the regional and on the country levels.”

“This project is generating data about women’s economic empowerment and women’s business growth in Latin America and the Caribbean to support WEConnect International’s own work and feed into evidence-based policy dialogues to enhance women entrepreneurship,” says IDRC Program Leader Arjan de Haan.

The data presented today represents a snapshot of 200 certified businesses in Latin America. The information collected includes industry sector, revenue, number of employees, legal incorporation status, access to lines of credit, and market focus. Preliminary research reveals the following about WEConnect International’s women-owned businesses in Chile:

  • Companies employ an average of eight employees per company
  • Only 10 percent of companies are currently exporting
  • 98 percent of companies have access to credit through a financial institution
  • Financial institutions have extended over US$6,300,000 to women-owned businesses
  • The average loan amount is US$125K in Chile, among the highest in WEConnect International’s Latin American businesses

This project builds on similar research conducted by WEConnect International in India in 2015 and leverages the significant investments made by its corporate members in the development of a searchable database of women’s business enterprises based in 100 countries including several throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. The project will also strengthen research capacities of WEConnect International’s Latin American member organizations, foster peer exchange, and build a model that WEConnect International can duplicate around the world.

WEConnect International identifies, educates and certifies women’s business enterprises that are at least 51% owned, managed and controlled by one or more women, and connects them with member buyers. WEConnect International members are committed to inclusive sourcing and represent over US$1 trillion in annual purchasing power. WEConnect International supports and promotes women-owned businesses in over 100 countries.

Part of Canada’s foreign affairs and development efforts, International Development Research Centre (IDRC) invests in knowledge, innovation, and solutions to improve lives and livelihoods in the developing world.

CONTACT: Cate Urban | Director of Communications | WEConnect International +1 202 810 6009 |curban@weconnectinternational.org