Investing in women creates a ripple effect, multiple benefits

KOTA KINABALU: Investing in women creates a ripple effect that yields multiple benefits, not only for individuals, but also for families, communities, and countries, says the University of California director for expanding diversity and gender equity in tech Jill Finlayson.

She said investment in women’s entrepreneurship empowerment would also give meaningful returns as they would reinvest in their family, children and community development via business contribution.

“There is so much data that shows when you invest in a woman, she (will) reinvest in her children and community. They are going to use that money back into educating their children, helping the community and the next generation of startup founders.

“However, without access to technologies, education, information and financial literacy, they are handicapped (to show) their ability to do the things that they could do to make their lives better (and) to grow their business,” she told Bernama when met after being a speaker in the Women, Technology and Entrepreneurship Scaling Up talk program here, organized by the United States embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

The program, which was held on Aug 27, was in collaboration with the Sabah Women Entrepreneurs and Professionals Association.

Finlayson said financial assistance through micro loans could also be a game changer in businesses including those of women entrepreneurs.

On top of that, she believes that women entrepreneurs are savvy in managing their company as well as increasing profits thus expanding business potential.

“It is exciting to see women using their knowledge, expertise and understanding to start and grow their own business,” she said.

Finlayson also viewed that the women’s entrepreneurship association played an important role in bringing more participants, including young people, to venture into the field of entrepreneurship by helping them start businesses and giving them a second chance to expand their portfolios.

“They are helping to breed the next generation of leaders and doing that in a way that is efficient (and not only) allowing people to leverage the knowledge but also to learn from the young people who are coming in, who might have new perspectives and ways of approaching problems that they have not thought about.

“Also, mentoring is super valuable as it will allow people to see things from multiple perspectives to solve problems as well as to think together about different ways of solving problems,” she said.

Finlayson said many young people view that creating a business as difficult, however, if they could learn the skills and experience of other entrepreneurs, it will inspire them to build more innovative and excellent companies that meet the needs of customers.

She said that in driving business and the digital economy, technology would enable entrepreneurs to be more efficient and productive.

Therefore, all women entrepreneurs need to learn technology and internet skills to be utilized more comfortably and effectively in their respective businesses, she added.

However, Finlayson highlighted that sustainable infrastructure is necessary to ensure that technology and Internet facilities are provided and accessible equally to everyone.

It needs to be introduced earlier at the school level as it will expose young children to the idea of ​​creating innovation that leads to entrepreneurship, she noted.

Meanwhile, SWEPA president Sitti Bahaya Damsal said the program gave its members insights to know and adopt new ideas through the sharing of experiences and perspectives related to entrepreneurship.

“This session helps SWEPA members to change their perspectives based on the current situation as business approach nowadays is different, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The program also enabled SWEPA members to exchange views and ask questions directly with the speakers related to technology in entrepreneurship and business,” she added.

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