The Workshop on Women-focused Business Incubation was successfully held in the Kyrgyz Republic, on April 9-16, 2009. Themed “Gateway to Economic Development through Women Empowerment and Entrepreneurship”, the event was organized by the Congress of Women of the Kyrgyz Republic and funded by infoDev. Participants convened to learn about and discuss the status and strategies in the promotion and implementation of women-focused business incubation and entrepreneurship programs worldwide. In conjunction with the workshop, more than ten separate events were held in the cities of Bishkek, Osh and Issyk-Kul, involving senior government officials, women entrepreneurs and the local media.
Do you have experience in supporting women-focused business incubation? Would you like to be part of a global working group that is passionate about empowering women entrepreneurs?
For further information about IWWG membership, please contact Zamira Akbagysheva, Project Leader, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Workshop participants built on the work done by the International Women's Working Group (IWWG), an activity launched in 2008 and initiated by infoDev. IWWG members to date include: Ms Zamira Akbagysheva, Project Leader; Regional Project coordinators Mr. Annuar Mohd Saffar (Asia), Ms Mbarou Mbaye (Africa), Ms Rositsa Djambazova (Eastern Europe/ Central Asia), Ms Soukaina Rahmani (representing Ms Nejiba Khalfallah; Middle East / North Africa, MENA); Ms Larisa Brovarska, SPICE Group, Poland to provide assistance and information about women entrepreneurship support in Poland; and Mr. Heinz Fiedler, infoDev's Regional Facilitator for the MENA region.
The goal of the meeting was to discuss findings on women business incubation across the different regions and to create a body of knowledge as a basis for decisions of future activities. The prpgram started with events held in conjunction with the workshop, including discussions between Mr. Annuar Mohd Saffar with the Governor, Mayor, and women entrepreneurs in Osh-Oblast region on. Ms Mbarou Mbaye, the IWWG Africa Regional Coordinator met three organizations and women entrepreneurs around city of Bishkek.
The opening ceremony in Bishkek on April 12, 2009 was highly publicized by local media: radio, TV, and newspapers. More than 40 women entrepreneurs and government officers were present to obtain first-hand knowledge on the current status of women business incubation and entrepreneurship in the Kyrgyz Republic and the world over. A keynote speech was held by Mr. Isabekov K Satindevich, Vice-Speaker of the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic. This opening ceremony provided briefings and presentation by fifteen government officers and local women entrepreneurs on their current roles and their hope for the future.
The workshop program continued with an evaluation and planning session in Issyk-Kul, attended by IWWG members, to discuss the interim reports prepared by the respective regional coordinators. Other than current status and issues, the session discussed challenges, obstacles, best practices, as well as strategies, on women business incubation and entrepreneurship programs.
The workshop concluded with IWWG members committing to completing and submitting a comprehensive report to infoDev in September 2009 in preparation for infoDev's 3rd Global Forum in Brazil in October 2009. The report will outline the next course of action in the promotion and implementation of women-focused incubation and entrepreneurship programs, in various parts of the world.
Main outcomes of the two-day workshop include the following:
- Portraying the importance of women's business incubation through a set of key statistical data that will be gathered by regional coordinators and their partners in the respective regions. Already completed regional reports were used as a basis to summarize and discuss findings and to agree on the next steps for completing further information.
- Agreeing on common challenges for women entrepreneurship that have been found in the regional studies so far: lack of self confidence, lack of role models, lower education, negative perception of the society of working women, and limited access to information, advice, and support (networks).
- Analyzing tools and methodologies for supporting women entrepreneurship in order to tailor them to women's needs around the following questions: What is different for women? Are these tools and methodologies specific to women entrepreneurs? How many female graduates are there in different countries? How many are home businesses? How can business incubation support them?
- Exchanging experience among IWWG members regarding the identification of existing initiatives that support women entreprenurhip and agreeing on recommendations for further work, e.g. focus on neighboring countries, increase knowledge through the current questionnaires and target more countries and have (phone) interviews with client incubatees to collect examples practical experience
- Preparing a Global Forum IWWG report to summarize main findings and possibly be the basis for a draft resolution that Global Forum participants may agree on.
- Agreeing to find more examples of women entrepreneur success stories across different fields of work.
The workshop concluded with a reception in Bishkek that was attended by The Vice Minister of Industry, two Members of Parliament, women entrepreneurs and clients of the Women's Business Incubator of Kyrgyzstan, provided opportunities for a continued, intensive exchange of experiences and information.
For further information about the workshop and IWWG membership, please contact Zamira Akbagysheva, Project Leader, at email@example.com.