SheTrades Latin America: Supporting women businesses‘ transition towards the post-COVID digital age

SheTrades Latin America is an initiative of ITC SheTrades and implemented by ITC ecomConnect, with the objective of supporting and training 1,000 women-led businesses to enable them to sell their products and services online. 
Implemented from June 2022 to December 2023. 
About the project
To advance Sustainable Development Goal 5, ITC partners with specialized e-commerce institutions in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama, and Uruguay. The project’s primary objective is guiding and assessing a total of 1,000 beneficiary companies on their e-commerce journey through a virtual learning platform developed by these collaborators, who also work on creating essential tools and organizing events in Spanish.
Milestones
Since its inception, the project has delivered:
  • 729 women-led businesses enrolled in the virtual learning courses from Argentina, Colombia, Chile and Uruguay
  • 250 women-led businesses trained by local institutions on how to use ITC’s digital tools
  • Two webinars on leveraging the power of e-commerce to technical institutions
  • One networking session for entrepreneurs, partners and business support organizations
  • 25 new Spanish digital tools and methodologies developed to prepare Latin American women-led-businesses to operate in the new digital world

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ITC SheTrades and Unilever Project: Enhancing economic opportunities for women in supply chains

The ITC SheTrades and Unilever project aims to enhance procurement from women-led and -owned businesses in Indonesia, with the goal of enhancing women’s economic opportunities and gender equality in the country. It unites ITC’s expertise in supporting the growth of women-owned micro, small and medium sized enterprises with Unilever’s experience in fostering inclusivity and sustainability within value chains.
Implemented between November 2022 and December 2023.
About the project
The ITC SheTrades-Unilever project is dedicated to increasing the presence of women-led/-owned businesses within Unilever’s supply chain. This goal is realized through the enhancement of the technical capabilities of Indonesian women entrepreneurs, ensuring that they are well-prepared to meet the procurement criteria of large corporations.
To date, the project has delivered the following:
  • Two technical trainings encompassing a wide range of subjects, including industry standards and certifications, effective pitching strategies, sustainable business practices and an overview of Unilever’s procurement criteria.
  • Training of Trainers (ToT) program involving 18 institutions and associations across five provinces. These trainings were designed to embed knowledge and expertise necessary to train their own members and networks on sustainability in supply chains and strategies for accessing finance for businesses. 
  • Facilitated connections between 125 women-owned and led businesses and Unilever procurement officers to explore collaboration within the Unilever supply chain.
Implementing Partners

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ITC SheTrades and Visa: Asia Pacific

The ‘SheTrades & Visa: Asia Pacific’ project is dedicated to advancing women’s economic empowerment across the region. It focuses on promoting women’s participation in open digital economies, fostering entrepreneurial skills, providing tailored technical assistance in the Philippines, and facilitating virtual market and financial access for women-led businesses.
Implemented between July 2023 and July 2024 across the Asia Pacific region.
About the project
ITC SheTrades and Visa have formed a strategic partnership in a collaborative endeavour to enhance women’s economic empowerment in the Asia Pacific. The project will employ a multifaceted approach that targets export-ready women-led businesses across the region.

The project will:
  • Advocate for women’s participation in open digital economies
  • Enhance entrepreneurial skills
  • Facilitate virtual market and financial access for women-led businesses
  • Provide customized technical assistance in the Philippines
  • Bring Visa’s financial literacy and management tools into the fold of the SheTrades.com
The ‘SheTrades & Visa: Asia Pacific’ project operates within the overarching framework of Visa’s regional program in Asia Pacific. The collaboration builds on ITC SheTrades’ proven expertise in advancing women-led businesses and worldwide networks with the advocacy prowess of Visa in Asia Pacific. This synergy is in alignment with ITC’s broader commitment to women’s empowerment through its Empowering Women to Trade program, making a direct and substantial contribution to ITC’s impact objectives, particularly in fostering Inclusive Trade and promoting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 5, 8, and 17.
Learning Resources
Explore a new collection of e-learning courses brought to you by Visa Asia Pacific and leading experts at the ASEAN SME Academy, Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), Dive into essential business topics, including insurance, break-even analysis, and financial management and equip yourselves with the right skills to take your businesses to the next level!

Visa
ASEAN SME Academy
Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA)
UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) 
ITC-Visa Self Assessment Toolkit
Discover the ITC-Visa Self-Assessment Tool to evaluate your business competitiveness! This tool will help you gain a comprehensive understanding of your business’s current standing, pinpoint areas for improvement, and receive personalized insights to guide your business development strategy.

How to access the ITC Self-Assessment Tool:
  • Access the platform here.
  • Log in to your account—or create one if you don’t have one.
  • Start the assessment and complete it at your own pace.
For additional guidance, please consult the instructions outlined in this guide or watch this webinar, which features insights from ITC experts. These resources provide step-by-step to help you complete the assessment.
Past activities
  • 04 – 06 December 2023: Capacity building and speed networking with partners in Manila, Philippines, addressed export and investment competitiveness and targeting 100 Filipina entrepreneurs. The workshop occurred alongside the “National Exporters Week,” flagship event launched by the Department of Trade and Industry, the SheTrades Hub host institution in the Philippines.
Upcoming activities
  • Q1 2024: A three-part webinar series co-delivered by SheTrades and Visa exploring financial principles, Fintech, and access to capital (grants and loans).

Funder

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ITC SheTrades Hubs

Co-implemented by ITC SheTrades and national and regional institutions, SheTrades Hubs serve as resource centres for women-led businesses, policymakers, business support organizations and private-sector partners to improve the business support ecosystem and foster a community of partners to enable women’s success in trade.
About ITC SheTrades Hubs
Operating in collaboration with national and regional institutions, ITC SheTrades Hubs serve as vital resource centres for women entrepreneurs to access trainings on key topics, market and investment opportunities; institutions to access to a community of partners from a network spanning 16 in-country and two regional hubs across Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and MENA region; and to support policy makers with enhancing gender-inclusive policies.

Our global footprint includes having Hubs in:
  • Africa – Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa and The Gambia
  • Asia – Bangladesh, Indonesia, Mongolia, Philippines and Viet Nam
  • Latin America and the Caribbean – Argentina, Dominican Republic, Trinidad & Tobago and Uruguay
  • Regional hubs – the Caribbean and the Middle East and North Africa
Milestones
ITC SheTrades Hub host institutions have facilitated training, investment and market access opportunities. Our impact up to March 2023 includes:
  • Nearly 4,500 women entrepreneurs received skills trainings;
  • Over 400 women entrepreneurs benefitted from new services;
  • $1.2 million in business leads generated by 39 women entrepreneurs from Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya and Trinidad & Tobago at the Fruit Attraction Trade Fair (October 2022);
  • 15 in-country and two regional hubs equipped to offer enhanced services, covering crisis management, digital workshops, marketing and more;
  • Mauritius and South Africa SheTrades Hubs explored opportunities to co-organize a regional-level training for WLBs on market access and export development following peer-to peer sessions in March 2023.

Have a question about SheTrades Hubs?

  • Resources
    ITC SheTrades Hubs Brochure – Available in English

ITC SheTrades Commonwealth+ Programme

The ITC SheTrades Commonwealth+ Programme, funded by the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), aims to foster an enabling business ecosystem and improve the competitiveness of women-led businesses to trade by promoting inclusive policy and data and engaging women-led businesses, business support organizations, and private-sector partners in the Commonwealth countries and its key trading partners, including the ASEAN region.
Implemented between 2018 and 2024 in selected Commonwealth countries and its key trading partners.
About the project
Launched in April 2018, the ITC SheTrades Commonwealth+ Programme targets all levels of stakeholders within the business ecosystem, including women-led businesses, business support organizations, private-sector partners and policymakers, to foster an enabling business ecosystem for women to trade.
Milestones
Since April 2018, the SheTrades Commonwealth+ Programme has:
  • Directly supported over 4,000 women entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses in the Commonwealth countries and its key trading countries by providing almost 1,000 training and coaching on international trade in multiple languages;
  • Helped to generate over £32 million of sales for those women-owned businesses in sectors ranging from tourism to agrifood and from textiles to IT;
  • Supported the creation of over 6,600 jobs, of which over 70% went to women, in those businesses and their supply chains;
  • Worked with almost 100 business support organizations, among which 13 organizations are hosting SheTrades Hubs, to create an enabling environment for women entrepreneurs to succeed in international trade;
  • Launched and rolled-out SheTrades Outlook to 52 countries, which has helped to collect data and best practices on trade policy that affect women entrepreneurs and their business, and created the SheTrades Outlook network, which has connected government officials from 26 countries to share best practices and lessons learned on trade and gender agenda;
  • Developed 12 SheTrades Outlook policy briefs and engaged country-based government officials from 33 countries to raise their awareness on good practices through the SheTrades Outlook Network;
  • Supported approximately 20% Commonwealth countries to make their trade and trade-related policies more gender inclusive, including expanding market opportunities for women entrepreneurs through public procurement.

Resources

  • Women-led businesses in Mozambique’s energy sector: Challenges and opportunities Available in English
  • Mainstreaming gender in free trade agreements – Available in English and Spanish.
  • Making public procurement work for women – Available in English, French and Spanish.
  • From design to evaluation: Making trade policy work for women – Available in English and French.

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ITC SheTrades-Visa: Gulf Region

The ITC SheTrades and Visa Programme: Gulf Region aims to harness the economic potential of women-owned and led businesses in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and promote inclusive growth in the region. The project is implemented under the framework of Visa’s regional grant and education programme, titled She’s Next, with ITC SheTrades spearheading the capacity-building and networking component of the programme. 
Implemented between June 2023 and March 2024 in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE
About the project
In June 2023, Visa launched the She’s Next grant programme specifically designed for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.This initiative garnered tremendous interest, with over 800 applications received from women-owned and led businesses across the region. By harnessing the economic potential of these businesses, the programme seeks to promote inclusive growth throughout the region.

This programme is tailored for women entrepreneurs in the region using insights gathered from She’s Next applicants. Comprising of virtual bootcamps, in-country workshops, coaching, and networking sessions, the programme will equip Gulf women entrepreneurs with key tools and expertise required to seize market opportunities and thrive in the digital era.
Approach
  • Community Building and Regional Collaboration: Fostering networking and collaboration between women entrepreneurs across the six countries and key public and private stakeholders.
  • Business assessment and diagnosis: Leveraging the Self-Assessment tool to enable women entrepreneurs to conduct a 360-degree business diagnosis and evaluate their learning needs.
  • Virtual Acceleration Bootcamps: Over 100 women entrepreneurs participated in the customized virtual bootcamps covering topics such as access to funding, digitalization, e-commerce, and sustainability.
  • Country workshops (November to December 2023): Delivery of technical workshops on business competitiveness and digitalization in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar, providing guidance to a group of 40 women entrepreneurs (per country).
  • One-to-one advisory support (December to February 2023): over the course of 8 weeks, 30 finalists (5 per country) will receive tailored guidance and insights to boost their business and financial strategies.
To learn more about the project, click here.

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