The Geneva-based ITC SheTrades Project “Economic Empowerment of Women in the Indian Ocean Rim Association Countries” (IORA Project), jointly with the Export Development Board (EDB), is organizing a workshop on Wednesday - November 29 for 100 female-owned/-led small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in Sri Lanka. The workshop will be held from 8.30 am to 5.00 pm at the EDB auditorium in Colombo, the EDB said on Monday.
The workshop aims to increase women entrepreneurs’ financial literacy and legal awareness, two of the most crucial bottlenecks faced by women businesses in the country. This workshop will be held within the scope of ITC’s SheTrades global initiative that aims to connect one million women entrepreneurs to market by 2020, it said.
Female-owned/-led businesses represent between one-quarter and one-third of enterprises in the world, but are largely invisible in the global value chains. Research has shown that fewer women are engaged in international trade than businesses owned by men. Female-owned/-led businesses often have less number of employees and lack the resources to expand into international markets. In addition, cultural and legal barriers largely contribute for the underrepresentation of women-owned/-led businesses in international trade.
Another common barrier faced by women-led SMEs is the limited access to legal information. Higher consultancy charges for legal advices and lack of awareness about the regulatory frameworks related to businesses act as discouraging factors for the women to seek legal consultation related to business activities. By identifying these obstacles faced by the women in businesses, this workshop aims to facilitate information on access to finance and legal regulation with the aim of increasing their integration into international markets, the release said. (JJ)