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PH fertile ground for women entrepreneurs

By: - Reporter / @neltayao
/ 12:07 AM March 10, 2017

If you’re a Filipino woman bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, good news: Now is the best time to work on those business ideas, as the Philippines, according to a global payments company, is one of the countries where female-owned businesses flourish.

Based on the recently released Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs 2017 (MIWE), the Philippines ranks eighth among 54 countries, next to New Zealand, Canada, the United States, Sweden, Singapore, Belgium and Australia. Such high performance on the index, according to the report, indicates “a higher female representation of business owners in the economy.”

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Using 12 indicators and 25 sub-indicators, Mastercard  looked at how the 54 markets, representing 78.6 percent of the world’s female labor force, differ in terms of three key components: women’s advancement outcomes; their knowledge assets and financial access; and supporting entrepreneurial factors.

The top-performing countries, reads the report, “are healthiest in terms of: women’s progress as business leaders/managers, professionals and entrepreneurs; women’s access to financial services/products, advanced education and support for SMEs (small and medium enterprises); and the extent to which ease of doing business, cultural perception, and quality of governance support women entrepreneurs’ ability to thrive.”

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The Philippines, in particular, tops all markets when it comes to one main component: women’s advancement outcomes, which “gauges women’s progress and degree of marginalization economically and professionally as business leaders, professionals, entrepreneurs and labor force participants.”

Such result comes as a pleasant surprise given that the country has a low-income economy, and generally, the index reflects that it is the high-income economies that do better across all three components.

“Given that the indicators are gendered ratios (females compared to males and females as a percentage of total), women in the less wealthy nations are more likely to be driven into entrepreneurship out of necessity (i.e. high female entrepreneurial rate) or have joined the workforce to earn a living (i.e. high female labor force participation rate),” states the report. “It is also possible that in an environment where women have high opportunities to become leaders or managers, assume professional/technical work roles, or actively participate in the workforce, the talent pool of potential women entrepreneurs with the required entrepreneurial skill sets also increases.”

The Philippines is also one of the top-performing countries when it comes to the index’s second component: women’s knowledge assets and financial access, which measures the degree of marginalization women experience as financial customers and as enrollees in tertiary education, as well as their inclination to borrow or save money for business purposes. Such high performance, which can also be seen in other lower-income markets such as Vietnam and Indonesia, demonstrate that women from these countries are “driven mostly by a high tendency to borrow or save for business purposes, and high access to financial services/products (bank account, credit and debit cards).”

However, the Philippines ranks low on the third component, supporting entrepreneurial factors—much like other low-income economies on the index.

“This is not surprising, given that high income economies tend to be mostly developed and innovation-driven where the basic physical, financial/commercial, governing and education infrastructure and systems are already in place. These are the elements that help drive the quality of governance, entrepreneurial conditions and ease of doing business,” the report states.

On a global level and across all economies, the MIWE also found that for women to truly succeed in business, the following barriers still need to be overcome:

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—lack of funding/ venture capital;

—regulatory restrictions and institutional inefficiencies;

—lack of self-belief or entrepreneurial drive;

—fear of failure;

—sociocultural restrictions; and

—lack of training and education.

“It is evident that women’s full potential and value as entrepreneurs and business owners are yet to be unleashed,” the report states.

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