Women 20 Engagement Group discusses gender and entrepreneurship


Mar 26, 2024
Engagement Group
Divulgação/ site g20.org
Women make up more than half of the world's population but contribute less than 37% of global GDP. In addition to cultural barriers, women have a harder time building credit than men. The relationship between gender and entrepreneurship was discussed during the 1st National Dialogue of the Women 20 Engagement Group, on Monday, (25) in Rio de Janeiro.
"Female entrepreneurship is one of the most powerful keys to unlocking women's economic potential, strengthening communities and driving global growth, and it needs to be promoted by public policies that include race and ethnicity lenses in their design and implementation," said Maria Rita Spina, leader of the W20 Entrepreneurship Working Group.
The story of Sabine Zink, co-founder and CEO of SAS Brasil, exemplifies how one woman's desire can affect entire communities. She runs a social startup that provides medical care to impoverished communities. SAS was founded with the help of volunteers and, more than ten years later, it is now a sustainable business.
According to Sabine, with the institution grew significantly during the pandemic by focusing on innovation, technology, and telehealth, to the extent of attracting the attention of private companies in the healthcare industry. This prompted the entrepreneur and her team to study organizations that eventually become partners of companies. "That's when it hit us: why are we struggling to find sponsorship and donations? We have a business model that can generate social impact and revenue at the same time! So, since 2021, we've been building a non-profit system that works alongside a business system, which in turn generates revenue for investments in the social sphere," she explained.
Blended finance
Maria Rita Spina agrees that using different sources of funding is ideal for women-owned businesses. She argues that the financial market works with two risk-return variables: real and perceived. Although the real risk of women is lower, the perception of risk is very high when it comes to women-led businesses. This makes it difficult to get credit to start a business.
What can be done to change the current situation? Maria Rita, who has a degree in philosophy, believes that questions are the foundation of everything and argues that blended finance can be an answer. It is a form of investment that combines public, development or philanthropic resources with private capital in order to finance projects with a social, environmental or economic development impact.
One of the WG's recommendations is that in order to promote the economic empowerment of women from different ethnic and racial backgrounds, it is essential to create public policies that can implement innovative financial structures. They must make funding more accessible through legislation and policies. And thus, encourage banks, public, private, and multilateral organizations to establish alternative guarantee systems to increase greater female participation.
About W20
Women 20 will promote a total of five dialogues, one in each region of Brazil, addressing the priority themes of 2024: entrepreneurship, combating violence against women, the care economy, climate justice and women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
The W20 is one of the G20 Social's independent engagement groups focused on promoting gender equity and women's economic empowerment. Like all other engagement groups, its main mission is to positively influence the policies and commitments of the leaders of the G20 countries.
The role of the Social G20 is to bring the participation of non-governmental actors into the activities and decision-making processes of the G20. On the eve of the Leaders' Summit, between November 15 and 17, the Social Summit will be held to present the work carried out over almost a year by society. The idea is to identify new ways to design policies that reflect values such as social, economic, and environmental justice and the fight to reduce all kinds of inequality.