UN Women and Connected Women Team up to Help More Businesses Transition to Digital

The #WomenRiseAboveCOVID series empowers Filipina-led SMEs to accelerate digital transformation

Date: Wednesday, June 17, 2020

[Press release]

Manila, Philippines – Social impact startup Connected Women will now be able to reach and educate more Filipino women entrepreneurs, thanks to an exciting new collaboration with the joint European Union-UN Women program WeEmpowerAsia.

This initiative will champion business enhancement and transformation with digital platform skills for women business owners. Its purpose is to economically empower women during and the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. A series of talks and panel discussions will include: 

  • Offline to online business transition
  • Learning and maximizing digital platforms for MSMEs
  • Opening up networking and business opportunities 
  • Teaching and refining IT skills for women
  • Tapping online work opportunities 

Connected Women founder Gina Romero expressed her excitement about the partnership, which will enable the organisation to reach out to more women in the Philippines, especially those running their own SMEs. “We know that there are many women entrepreneurs who need to transition their brick-and-mortar businesses online and become digital-marketing savvy,” Romero said.

Romero also said that this initiative is available for startups and women who feel that they are not in a stable place at work and who wish to build their own businesses.

The first two events will be held on July 8th and 15th and they will be part of the Connected Women global meetup. The subsequent sessions will feature smaller groups to discuss industry-specific challenges, such as tourism. 

Successive events will be held in August, September and November. To keep updated with these workshops and talks, follow WeEmpowerAsia and Connected Women on Facebook for more information. 

Connected Women’s response to the community

The series of workshops is Connected Women’s answer to its community’s clamour to become better prepared for the “new normal.” Thousands of members of the Connected Women community were affected by the COVID-19 lockdown, especially those in severely impacted industries.


Romero explained that the online job market has the capacity to employ these women, which is why many of Connected Women’s programs focus on digital upskilling and digital marketing, namely:

  • Artificial Intelligence Data Labelling – This market is expected to hit USD 1.6 billion by 2025. They include jobs that need humans to perform tagging, classification, moderation and image processing tasks for AI. 
  • Executive Virtual Assistant – Customer service, data entry and internet research, which can be done remotely, are often needed by big businesses. The Philippines is the sixth-fastest growing freelance market behind countries including the U.S., Australia, UK and Canada. 
  • Remote Officers, Specialists, Agents – This involves transitioning office-based teams to remote teams, and there is evidence supporting that this could be a strong new trend. 

Tech giant Facebook already has a 10-year plan in place to move its workforce to work remotely. Twitter and Google are also embracing this trend, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is expected that more companies will be following suit. 

Romero explained that there is also a need for companies to understand the importance of providing remote and flexible work to retain their women talents in the workforce. By doing this, they can also open their talent pool to people who may not be able to physically attend work in the workplace.

The drive for inclusive, sustainable growth

Connected Women’s partnership with the joint EU-UN Women program WeEmpowerAsia is a step towards inclusive and sustainable growth in various communities, companies and enterprises with women as its drivers. 

UN Women’s Ma. Rosalyn Mesina, WeEmpowerAsia Philippines’ Country Program Manager, said she is very happy to support Connected Women and provide more opportunities for Filipino women to participate in more structured discussions when it comes to transitioning women-led and women-owned enterprises from offline to online. 

Mesina emphasized the importance of networking and maximizing digital platforms for women owners of small businesses. 

“I am really amazed hearing and reading all the comments and [I would like to] congratulate Connected Women on all these efforts that you are able to provide a safe space to discuss a lot of topics from professional activities down to the issues of motherhood and how do we do self-care on our own,” she said. “I am already seeing a lot of very, very successful women in the space who can be mentors and who can really inspire others to do the same.” 

As a group, UN Women is an entity dedicated to gender equality and women’s empowerment. It has four strategic priorities, one of which is for women to have income security, decent work and economic autonomy.

WeEmpowerAsia is a key initiative that translates and articulates UN Women’s commitment under the Women’s Economic Empowerment focus. With funding and support from the European Union, it runs in seven Asian countries including the Philippines.

For more information about this partnership and the series of workshops, visit http://weempowerasia.org.

 

For further enquiries, please contact:

Gina Romero
CEO and Co-founder, Connected Women
Email: team@connectedwomen.com

Rosalyn Mesina
Country Programme Manager, WeEmpowerAsia Philippines
UN Women
Email: rosalyn.mesina@unwomen.org

About WeEmpowerAsia
WeEmpowerAsia is a joint programme of the European Union and UN Women aiming to increase more women who lead and participate in private-sector businesses in China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam, thereby advancing inclusive and sustainable growth along with stronger links between European and Asian markets through gender-sensitive trade and supply chains. The programme is strongly anchored in the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) and contributes to seven United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDGs 1, 5, 8, 9, 10, 12 and 17.

About UN Women
UN Women is the United Nations organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, the organization was established in 2010 to accelerate progress on women's rights worldwide. UN Women's efforts are based on the fundamental belief that every woman has the right to live a life free from violence, poverty, and discrimination, and that gender equality is a prerequisite to achieving global development.

About the European Union
The European Union is made up of 27 member States who have decided to gradually link together their know-how, resources and destinies. Together, during a period of enlargement of 50 years, they have built a zone of stability, democracy and sustainable development while maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance and individual freedoms.