SheTrades News | 01 Jun 2018 | by SheTrades

SheTrades Commonwealth

Promoting economic growth and job creation


The SheTrades Commonwealth project aims to increase economic growth and job creation in Commonwealth countries by enabling the increased participation of women-owned businesses in international trade. The project is funded by the UK Department for International Development and implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC) under the framework of the SheTrades Initiative.



Trade, especially by women-owned enterprises, can be an effective driver for the economic inclusion of women. Women-owned exporting firms earn more, employ more people, and pay higher wages. Enabling women to participate in trade and improving the performance of micro, small and medium-sized (MSMEs) can translate into increased trade, productivity, and competitiveness. This can help drive overall economic expansion, job creation, innovation, and human development. If women are to play an active role in shaping institutions, social norms, and the well-being of their communities, their participation in trade is crucial.


ITC’s recent Business Survey, including 11 Commonwealth countries, found that only one-fifth of exporting firms are women-owned and managed. Women-owned businesses tend to employ more women and are twice as likely to have a majority share of women employees compared to men-owned firms.


Commonwealth states have the unique opportunity to trade at lower costs within the extensive Commonwealth network. Bilateral trade costs between Commonwealth partners are on average 19% lower when compared to other country pairings. By leveraging this “Commonwealth advantage” and the critical link between trade and gender, the Commonwealth can position itself at the forefront of promoting sustainable and inclusive socioeconomic development.

How to become a SheTrades Commonwealth beneficiary

For women entrepreneurs 

1 – Apply on this link

2 – Only SheTrades members are eligible to apply as the SheTrades in the Commonwealth beneficiary. Register now on if you are not yet a member of SheTrades’ network. Selected companies will be contacted to start the SheTrades in the Commonwealth journey with tailored training supported by mentors to be prepared to meet buyers & investors and many more business opportunities.



If you are a at least 30% owned, managed and controlled by woma(e)n; legally registered and incorporated company domiciled in an economy in Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria.



And in one or several of the focused sectors:
1. Textiles, apparel and handicrafts (Manufacturer; Producer (designer); Wholesaler / distributor; Service provider; others)

2. Services (IT/ITES; BPO; Tour operators; Accommodation; MICE; others)

3. Agriculture (Tea; Coffee; Avocado; Beans; Peas; Cashew; Shea; Cocoa; others)


For Trade and Investment Support Institutions

1 – Register as verifiers on

2 – Send an email to

Project Focus

Timeframe:    2 Years

Coverage: - Commonwealth-wide support: providing governments with information and resources to implement gender-responsive trade policies and   share best practices


      •                -  Country projects in Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria: building competitiveness of women-owned businesses and connecting them to trade and investment opportunities



Development Goals: Goal 1. No Poverty; Goal 5. Gender Equality; Goal 8. Decent work and Economic Growth


Commonwealth-wide support: SheTrades in the Commonwealth will provide governments with tools, information, and the capacity to implement gender responsive policies and offer a platform for governments to work collectively and share best practices. The “Global Outlook on trade and gender”, a key output of the project, is an interactive mapping tool that focuses on how effectively countries are supporting women to trade. The Outlook is based on seven dimensions and a series of indicators that measure trade inclusiveness. The tool will be available as a free, global public good on the SheTrades Platform.


Country-level interventions: The SheTrades Commonwealth project will support women-owned businesses to make them more competitive and connect them to markets. The project will work with business support organizations to improve the service offering for women entrepreneurs. It will also provide direct support to women-owned businesses, building their competitiveness and their capacity to participate in trade, through intensive training, mentoring and coaching. SheTrades Commonwealth project will engage private sector partners to adopt business practices that create economic opportunities for women-owned businesses. Trade fairs and other business generation activities will be organized to connect women entrepreneurs to potential buyers and investors.