Women entrepreneurs improve their digital skills to recover from the COVID-19 crisis in China
Author: Liu Di, Wang Jinyi
Beijing, China – 138 women entrepreneurs and senior managers learned about the digitization of human resources and business digital transformation as potential strategies to counter the post-COVID-19 crisis, from a webinar series led by UN Women China.
The trainings were organized within the framework of the project “SHE CAN: Women Entrepreneurs Digital Empowerment” by UN Women and SAP China, with an aim to enhance the capacities of women entrepreneurs and female-led startups, including those from underprivileged rural areas, to utilize digital technologies and promote gender equality in China.
China’s digital economy reached 31.3 trillion yuan in 2018, accounting for 34.8 percent of the country’s total gross domestic product. Digital transformation with no doubt will continue to have a great impact on the overall economic development of the country, and the COVID-19 pandemic will likely accelerate the process.
Despite the rise in the number of women entrepreneurs in the last few years, the technology industry in China remains mostly male-dominated. Women founded only 10% of new tech ventures, which are usually small scale.
The “SHE CAN” project kicked off with a webinar series supporting women entrepreneurs to address the impacts of COVID-19 and build their resilience. The virtual trainings were organized with the support of the China Global Philanthropy Institute. More than 340 participants joined the webinars live, 138 of whom were women entrepreneurs and senior managers. Additional outreach is expected as the online trainings have been made available through video platforms.
The first webinar, hosted on 17th April, focused on how human resources personnel can use digital technology to improve efficiency in the context of COVID-19.
Guest speaker Mr. Ji Liang, Dean of the Sunnac Institute, explained that when in-person meetings are no longer an option, an artificial intelligence algorithm can be used for recruitment to assess the cultural fit and key competencies of candidates. “Digital technology can help to choose the right candidate and improve the talent management,” He said. “If properly used, it can drive the development of enterprises.”
In the second webinar held on 26th April, Ms Fu Jianhua, an entrepreneur herself, introduced the most frequently used technologies in the finance sector as well as valuable insights and practical recommendations for business digital transformation.
“Every business is going to be a digital business in the future to some extent. When talking about business digital transformation, it is not only about finance process, but also the enterprises sales and customers preferences, supply chain management, marketing and business performance and the overall strategy of your enterprise. Increasing efficiency and reducing costs is the key”, as she mentioned, “female entrepreneurs could also leverage new digital technologies, accelerate their digital transformation and overtake their business competitors when the pandemic is over”.
The webinars have received positive feedback: 100% of the participants surveyed claim that the webinar has improved their understanding of digital innovation.
Through this special series of webinars that enhances the digital competencies of women entrepreneurs and startups, UN Women China hopes to support women and girls’ full participation in the digital economy and empower women by equipping them with the knowledge and skills needed to adapt to the existing and future challenges.