Ask a TechnoServe Expert: Juan Carlos Thomas on Entrepreneurship May 27, 2019

Request a TechnoServe Expert” is a show where our team members, who operate on a variety of important international development problems, answer your own questions.

How can you enable women to become entrepreneurs in male-dominated areas? When a lot of the housework and childcare is women-led, how can you enable girls to develop and direct their companies?
It’s tough to be an entrepreneur, however, it’s even more challenging to become a female entrepreneur. Conventional challenges like access to networks, skills, and financing can be acute for women that want to start companies. Present gender norms in most countries recommend that girls aren’t supposed to find the exact same degree of schooling as men, own land, or perhaps pursue activities outside the house.

In addition, we have programs that specifically target women entrepreneurs, like our app from Mozambique and Tanzania. In TechnoServe, we do our best to employ a gender lens into our job, meaning that at each phase of the job we identify opportunities to create our apps inviting and welcoming of women entrepreneurs. Occasionally small added measures can make a massive impact. By way of instance, from the recruiting process, you may wish an ad with a female entrepreneur to indicate that girls are welcome from the program. Other methods include having elastic timing for assignments to be sure women can engage and also to couple women entrepreneurs with girls business consultants, ensuring they feel comfortable and known.

We do our best to employ a gender lens into our job […] we identify opportunities to create our apps inviting and welcoming of women entrepreneurs”

Is microfinance the most viable way of financing small and midsize businesses (SMEs), because they are often not qualified for investments?
Microfinance can be a terrific tool for a number of entrepreneurs, but it is often very pricey, having a 50 percent interest fee or over in certain instances. Microfinance does not make sense if the anticipated return on the resources which the loan will finance isn’t above the expense of the financing. Microfinance and the majority of other kinds of financing might also not be wise if the anticipated cash flow is unclear. By way of instance, cash flow with start-ups could be unreliable, therefore unless the creditor is ready to forgive the debt when things fail, microfinance wouldn’t be a fantastic alternative. Additionally, since SMEs represent a massive variety of businesses (around 250 workers by some definitions), the microfinance offering might be too little for many people’s requirements.