April 21, 2024

Championing the economic agency of women entrepreneurs and young women in the digital economy

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The International Trade Centre (ITC) SheTrades Initiative and The UPS Foundation have announced the amplification of their partnership to champion the economic agency of women entrepreneurs and young women in the digital economy. The strengthened alliance, marked by a multi-year grant over three years, underscores the partners’ dedication to fostering the economic empowerment and digital leadership of women. 

Since its inception in 2019, the SheTrades and UPS Women Exporters Programme has worked toward narrowing the economic gap for women entrepreneurs. The programme has implemented tailored and export-oriented technical assistance, fostered the public-private ecosystem to better support women-led businesses, and facilitated their market and investment linkages.

Its dual approach – incorporating both global outreach and an in-depth focus in key countries – has yielded significant results. To date, the programme has directly impacted more than 17 000 women with trade-related technical assistance, created 192 jobs for women, and facilitated over $3.72 million in new business and investment opportunities.

Entering its next phase (2024–2027), the programme will pivot to a digital-centric approach, to empower women entrepreneurs and young women, particularly in Latin America, Asia-Pacific and Africa. The programme will also focus on expanding access to essential digital tools and platforms, ensuring women entrepreneurs are well-equipped to thrive in an increasingly digital business landscape. Furthermore, significant efforts will be made to cultivate young women as future leaders in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and other male-dominated fields, providing them with the required skills and resources.

Additionally, the programme will aim to strengthen the institutional ecosystem to enhance women’s digital fluency and foster partnerships with market and financial institutions. This will open up opportunities within digital value chains, including positioning women as potential suppliers to key partners. By bridging the gender-digital gap, the programme aims to spur inclusive growth and job creation in the focus regions. 

“The UPS Foundation is proud to build on our partnership with ITC SheTrades by committing $1 million to a renewed strategic focus on empowering women to succeed in the digital economy,” says Nikki Clifton, president of Social Impact and The UPS Foundation. “Whether it’s tapping into e-commerce and digital payments or harnessing the power of AI and automation, we look forward to working with the ITC to help more women entrepreneurs around the world access and benefit from an increasingly digital global business landscape.”

Pamela Coke-Hamilton, executive director at the International Trade Centre, adds: “Our collaboration with The UPS Foundation is equipping women entrepreneurs with the practical skills they need to sell their products across the world – and as we shift to focus on sharpening digital skills, more women will have the tools and resources they need to succeed in trade.”

Both ITC and The UPS Foundation see this partnership as a monumental leap toward achieving gender equality, digital inclusivity, and sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

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