Mobile Services for Women Entrepreneurs

Reseach conducted in 2012 into mobile services which can help women entrepreneurs develop their businesses.

Mobile Value Added Services: A business Growth Opportunity for Women Entrepreneurs

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The exponentially increasing rate of mobile penetration in developing and emerging economies offers many opportunities for women entrepreneurs to grow and expand their enterprises through the use of technology. However, women entrepreneurs also face specific challenges to business growth, such as limited access to adequate marketing channels and insufficient training opportunities. Historically, few mobile solutions have had the scale necessary to empower large numbers of women, and the majority of services for business use are generally not tailored to address the precise regional and local barriers that women face.

The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and the ExxonMobil Foundation worked together to research and test mobile services which can help women entrepreneurs develop their businesses. This was a three-phase project, involving research, on the ground projects and evaluation.

In the first phase of the project, we conducted a comprehensive study to understand the needs of women entrepreneurs in relation to mobile applications and services. The resulting report, Mobile Value Added Services: A Business Growth Opportunity for Women Entrepreneurs, studied the main business challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in Indonesia, Nigeria and Egypt, identified existing and new mobile value added services that could be used to address these challenges, and prepared a business case for scaling up those services which would likely have the greatest impact on women entrepreneurs. This report led to the development of our award-winning mobile service, Business Women, which reached over 100,000 women.

Key Findings

  • Micro-entrepreneurs represent 98% of entrepreneurial activity across the three markets studied
  • Eight business challenges, including access to digital channels, affordable resources and access to marketplaces, were prioritised as having the greatest potential impact
  • Over 88% of women entrepreneurs were willing to use mobile services to address the core challenges they face in their businesses
  • More than 82% of women entrepreneurs indicated a willingness to pay for these services
  • The average monthly mobile spend of women entrepreneurs surveyed was almost four times greater than the market average