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Report Urges Escalated Support to Women-Owned Businesses During Pandemic

By MBE Magazine Staff 
Last updated on June 17th, 2020 01:02 pm

Breaking down barriers to new markets and capital is essential for women-owned businesses to survive and thrive, especially during the current pandemic, according to a report by the Council on Scaling Women-Owned Businesses.

How to Rebuild Global Business for Good, a special report underwritten by Moody’s Corporation and TD Bank Group and led by WEConnect International, identifies a massive oversight in the ecosystem of support for women business owners and outlines a global strategy to support inclusive economic growth during and after COVID-19 by leveraging the power of women-owned businesses as innovators and job creators.

“There is an urgent need for women-owned businesses to have equal access to markets and capital,” said Arlene Isaacs-Lowe, council chair, Global Head of Corporate Social Responsibility for Moody’s Corporation and President of the Moody’s Foundation. “This need has only been exacerbated by the current pandemic, making it more important than ever for corporations and government agencies to assist women business owners with growing and scaling their enterprises.”

According to the report, when women succeed as business owners because of better access to both markets and capital, everyone benefits – employees, families, communities, and the global economy: 

  • Small and growing women-owned businesses are one of the most significant drivers of innovation and job growth in both developed and emerging markets.
  • When women gain access to finance and increase their sales, they invest their income in better health, welfare and education for their households and communities.
  • Closing the gender disparity gap would add trillions of dollars to global GDP.

The report details approaches to help women-owned businesses grow by reducing existing barriers and improving economic empowerment through data disaggregation, strategic partnerships, procurement opportunities, financing opportunities, research and education.

More business education and knowledge sharing will also reduce risk bias against women business owners, improve inclusive investing and inclusive sourcing practices and minimize market-level social, legal, political and tech barriers, the report found.

“Connecting access to markets with access to capital was identified by Council members as a major pain point for growth-oriented women-owned businesses. Stakeholders must work together to tackle both critical challenges at the same time if we want to rebuild global business for good,” said Elizabeth A. Vazquez, CEO and co-founder of WEConnect International.

The Council leaders who generously shared their subject matter expertise, data and recommendations to help make this report possible include:

Arlene Isaacs-Lowe, Council Chair
Global Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Moody’s Corporation and President, Moody’s Foundation

  • Michal Pillay
    Supplier Diversity Manager, Absa Group Limited
  • Sandra Orgu
    Gender Specialist, Access Bank PLC
  • Charlotte Nellist
    Vice President, Head of Global Contract Strategy and Execution, American Express
  • Harvey Butler
    Global Head of Supplier Diversity, Barclays
  • Laura Didyk
    Vice President and National Lead, Women Entrepreneurs, Business Development Bank of Canada
  • Javette Hines
    Director, SC Supplier Senior Group Manager and Head of Supply Chain Development, Inclusion and Sustainability, Citi
  • Inez Murray
    CEO, Financial Alliance for Women
  • Charlotte Keenan
    Global Director of 10,000 Women, Goldman Sachs
  • Anoushka Mehta
    Head of Gender Lens Finance, Americas & Global Relationship Banker, Public Sector, HSBC
  • Heather Mae Kipnis
    Entrepreneurship Lead, Gender Business Group, International Finance Corporation
  • William Kapfer
    Global Head of Supplier Diversity, JPMorgan Chase
  • Emily Bishop
    Responsible Sourcing & Supplier Diversity Lead, Mastercard
  • Julie Baker
    Head of Enterprise and Community Finance, RBS Group
  • Chantal Pitre
    Manager, Women in Entrepreneurship, TD Bank Group
  • Berna Tüzüner
    Senior Manager, Women Banking Development, Turkish Economy Bank
  • Kathryn Kaufman
    Managing Director for Global Women’s Issues, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation
  • Elizabeth A. Vazquez
    CEO and Co-Founder, WEConnect International
  • Rachael McKenzie
    National Manager Business Initiatives, SME Banking & Connect Now, Westpac Business Bank
  • Mary Ellen Iskenderian
    President and CEO, Women’s World Banking

To download a copy ofHow to Rebuild Global Business for Good, visit theCouncil on Scaling Women-Owned Businesses Resources webpage.The Council has also compiled supplemental resources, including related case studies, lessons learned and industry programs seeking strategic partners, available on the website.