UN Women workshop develops plan to support women-led enterprises in Asia and Pacific digital economy


Authors: Agatha Appleton-Sas and Estefania Grijalva

Photo: UN Women.
Participants discuss how to help Asia’s women entrepreneurs during the UN Women-hosted workshop on 27 June 2023. Photo: UN Women

Beijing, China — A Women's Digital Empowerment Partner Workshop hosted by UN Women China has-developed a roadmap for collective action to empower women entrepreneurs to thrive in the digital economy in Asia and the Pacific.

The virtual workshop was part of the Together Digital Programme launched in 2022 by UN Women and the Ant Foundation of China to try to close the digital gender gap. It was held on United Nations Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) Day, 27 June 2023.

Participants in the workshop included UN Women and leaders and representatives from private sector organizations from many countries: Amartha, Ant Foundation, Aureolis Ventures, Connecting Founders, DuAnyam, EY, GoJek, Google, Huawei, Kuaishou Technology, LinkedIn, Microsoft, MyBank, Shiseido, She Loves Tech, StrongHer Ventures, Swire Group, Tokopedia, UBS, and ZhenFund.

The workshop followed two consultative roundtables earlier this year in which UN Women and collaborating organizations identified best practices, needs, and high-potential actions and partnerships to increasewomen’s access to digital technology.

The workshop focused on three key areas: access to skills, to finance, and to markets.

Participants identified key actions they will collectively take to support women entrepreneurs, including developing mentorship and coaching programmes, enhancing pitching and fundraising skills, investing in women-led businesses, and connecting women-led MSMEs to digital markets.

The participants also outlined the next steps they will take to establish a partner platform for collaboration, knowledge exchange, and the development of action plans to advance women's digital empowerment in the region.

During the workshop, UN Women also launched its  Multi-country Study on Women-led MSMEs, with a Focus on Microenterprises in China, Indonesia, Thailand, Rwanda and Uganda. The study provides recommendations on how to design and implement initiatives to support women’s entrepreneurship.

Together Digital, a five-year programme, is being piloted in the Asia and the Pacific region through projects in China and Indonesia and other regional initiatives. Among other activities, the programme has provided several thousand women entrepreneurs with training on digital skills and business management, including gender-sensitive digital entrepreneurship.