Women from the Pacific Alliance and Mercosur train for the digital age

On the occasion, the results of a study on the characterization of women entrepreneurs and businesswomen of the Pacific Alliance, carried out in conjunction with the IDB, were also presented.

November 11, 2020. Nearly a hundred women entrepreneurs and businesswomen from the countries of the Pacific Alliance and Mercosur, participated today in the webinar “Women and International Trade: Promoting Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Digital Age”, organized by the Technical Group on Gender of the Pacific Alliance.

The activity was inaugurated by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Andrés Allamand, and of Women and Gender Equity, Mónica Zalaquett, from Chile. “I am convinced that supporting the social and economic empowerment of women is key to accelerating the necessary economic recovery at all levels. I firmly believe that events like today’s provide a space to share and deepen experiences of female economic empowerment through financial inclusion, digital inclusion, and labor inclusion, all of which highlight and encourage entrepreneurship from a gender perspective, which is more relevant today than ever before,” said Minister Allamand.

This activity stems from the urgent need to provide tools and accompany companies in their digital transformation process, especially those led by women, due to the persistence of the digital gender divide and the current health crisis that has made it even more visible.

“We are facing an economy that is suffering the ravages of the pandemic, and that has seen how the processes of digitalization have accelerated in the way of working and interacting. We also know that it will take longer to recover jobs and pay levels like those we used to know, and that encouraging female entrepreneurship and training women in applied technological skills is essential to accelerate sustainable progress. Women are key to the recovery of our countries,” said Minister Zalaquett.

The webinar began with the presentation of the main results of the study “Women entrepreneurs in foreign trade of the Pacific Alliance: who are they, what barriers do they face, and how can we enhance their growth and internationalization­?” by Alejandra Villota, Coordinator of ConnectAmericas for Women and Trade and Investment Specialist of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). This study sought to characterize women entrepreneurs in the PA, identify the main challenges they face in their commercial and export activities, and make recommendations to support the growth of their ventures and increase their participation in foreign trade.

“The study shows a clear x-ray of who the women entrepreneurs of the PA are, what are the main characteristics of their companies, and the barriers they face in their commercial and export activity. This characterization will guide the formulation of public policies and the development of activities and programs that more effectively support women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and consolidate themselves in the dynamic engines of intraregional trade and employment recovery throughout the region,” explained Alejandra Villota.

In addition, Villota pointed out that an update of the study is being carried out, integrating the factor COVID-19 and its effect on women entrepreneurs and their business activities.

Afterwards, Marco Terán Aguilar, Digital Development Director of Fundación País Digital, made a presentation entitled “Restart your business: The power of digital transformation”, where he gave guidelines for the digital transformation that has had to be accelerated due to the pandemic and also to rethink organizations and make positive, sustainable and lasting changes.

The webinar audience was then directed to participate in four workshops, where participants were able to receive more detailed information on topics such as “Digital Monetization Models” (Ximena Jaramillo); “Boosting my business through the Experience #DigitalizationInclusiva” (Jennifer Fernandez); “Digital Transformation and Change Management” (Patricia Barrientos); and “Are people happy when you arrive, or when you leave? Post-Pandemic Leadership Challenges” (Carolina Angarita Barrientos).