Women entrepreneurs must be given the opportunities to harness the power of digital technology that will enable them to become more productive and at the same time expand their markets.
Rosemarie Rafael, president and chairman of the Airspeed group, said providing and giving women entrepreneurs access to digital tools is a huge step toward empowerment that will make them a more productive force in Philippine society.
Rafael, also the president of the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines, pointed out that one effective approach to supporting women entrepreneurs is establishing partnerships with micro, small and medium enterprises.
“When women are given the opportunities and support they need, they can unleash their fullest potential as entrepreneurs. This also benefits the entire economy. By promoting gender equality in the business world, countries can tap into a vast pool of talent, expertise and creativity that may otherwise remain untapped,” said Rafael.
The Amazing Philippines Digital Economy (APDEC), the digital and advocacy arm of Airspeed, is focused on optimizing supply chain processes for MSMEs. One of the key focuses of APDEC is to ensure that women entrepreneurs have access to opportunities that will enable them to digitalize their business, stay updated with the current trends, and tap into the market.
Through Kahanga-hanga PH, a digital platform that hosts Filipino products, Speedgits, Airspeed’s digital gifting platform designed to take
MSMEs’ businesses globally, and Pinaspeed, one of the newest platforms that offers faster and easier delivery options, Rafael said the Airspeed
group hopes to bridge the digital divide and provide necessary resources to support women entrepreneurs in the country.
Meanwhile, Iskaparate founding CEO Joey Bermudez said the online platform urgently needs to encourage micro and small entrepreneurs to go digital. “There is an emerging digital divide between the rich and the poor because the latter is behind in digital adoption,” Bermudez said.
“The digital divide is shifting even more economic power to the rich and making the value chain all the more lopsided. As a consequence, the digital divide is further widening the wealth divide. When technology creates this kind of outcome, it is not an equalizer but the exact opposite of it,” Bermudez added.
Bermudez said failure to empower SMEs would lead to an anomalous situation that will enable micro and small entrepreneurs becoming mere replaceable pieces in the formidable digitally powered distribution engines of monoliths.
He traced the challenge of digitalizing micro and small enterprises have to do with the lack of tools, skills and mental predisposition toward digitalization. Micro and small entrepreneurs don’t have the most advanced devices to utilize digital technology.
“They don’t have scale to justify the essential investments in technology. Iskaparate is precisely creating a shared digital engine for micro and small entrepreneurs. To solve the challenge of mental predisposition, Iskaparate educates them and raises their digital proficiency,” he said.