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Access to Trade and Growth of Women ’ s SMEs in APEC Developing Economies. Indonesia ∙ Malaysia ∙ Philippines ∙ Thailand. Kate Bollinger WEP Workshop 2014 Ubud, Bali. Presentation Outline. Research Purpose and Partnership Overview and Methodology F indings Recommendations.

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access to trade and growth of women s smes in apec developing economies

Access to Trade and Growth of Women’s SMEs in APEC Developing Economies

Indonesia ∙ Malaysia ∙ Philippines ∙ Thailand

Kate Bollinger

WEP Workshop 2014

Ubud, Bali

presentation outline
Presentation Outline
  • Research Purpose and Partnership
  • Overview and Methodology
  • Findings
  • Recommendations
purpose and partnership with apec
Purpose and Partnership with APEC
  • It is increasingly recognized that women’s full and equal participation in business has important repercussions for domestic and regional economies.
  • Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) commissioned a research study to increase understanding of the factors that encourage or deter access to trade and growth for women’s SMEs in:
      • Malaysia
      • The Philippines
      • Thailand
  • TAF extended the research to Indonesia
research overview
Research Overview
  • Research examined a range of micro-economic factors that affect women’s ability to start and grow SMEs in the study economies:
    • Economic and Financial Barriers
    • Government and Policy Barriers
    • Social Environment, Support Systems and Opportunities for Women
research methodology
Research Methodology

Quantitative research

Survey questionnaire

  • Philippines
  • 100 SMEs
  • 50 exporting SMEs
  • ~50% female, ~50% male
  • Area-based quota sampling & simple random sampling
  • Indonesia
  • 108 SMEs
  • 42 exporting SMEs
  • ~50% female, ~50% male
  • Area-based quota sampling & simple random sampling
  • Malaysia
  • 92 SMEs
  • 55 exporting SMEs
  • ~50% female, ~50% male
  • Area-based quota sampling
  • Thailand
  • 80 SMEs
  • 56 exporting SMEs
  • ~50% female, ~50% male
  • Stratified random sampling

Qualitative research

  • All Study Economies
  • Semi-structured interviews
  • Focus group discussions
  • Case studies of female entrepreneurs
finance loans
Finance & Loans

Complexity of the loan application process is a key problem for women

owned SMEs across all countries surveyed.

Most Challenging Part of The Loan Process: Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand

employee hiring and training
Employee Hiring and Training
  • Among women and men business owners employee hiring and training was cited as their primary business challenge.

Primary Business Challenge: All SMEs

employee hiring and training1
Employee Hiring and Training
  • Women owners hire more women than men owners.

Average Firm Size by Frequency of Interactions with Formal Networks


Networks are recognized as important to success in business, but women-owned firms lag in formal networking.

Frequency of Interaction with Formal Business Associations: All SMEs


Women firm owners lag behind men in their knowledge and use of technology

Awareness of Technologies that Would Make Business More Profitable

  • Informal payments are a problem for all business owners, especially in the Philippines.

Perceptions of Severity of Informal Payments Problem: By APEC Economy

government support
Government Support

How Supportive is Government of Businesses Like Yours?: All SMEs Malaysia

Women business owners in Malaysia and Thailand perceived low levels of government support.

social support role models mentors
Social Support: Role Models & Mentors
  • 75% of all business owners in the study had a relative who ran their own business. Women owners are much more likely than men to have a female relative in business.

Do You Have a Female Relative in Business?

key recommendations
Key Recommendations
  • Finance and Loans:
  • Work with the private sector, including SME business associations and networks, to support potential women entrepreneurs on financial literacy and the loan application process.
  • Networks:
  • Support the capacity of business associations to reach women-owned firms and create programs to address their needs.
  • Technology:
  • Develop training programs to help women business owners more effectively use technology appropriate for their particular business.
key recommendations1
Key Recommendations
  • Government Support:
  • Build opportunities for more constructive interaction between business women and the public sector through activities such as public-private dialogues and trade fairs.
  • Social Support:
  • Mentorship programs can pair women with role models to help that start their own business and navigate social constraints.
areas of research focus
Areas of Research Focus
  • Economic and Financial Barriers
    • Access to finance: interest rates, loan applications, collateral requirements
    • Operational: employee hiring and training, turnover, business technologies
    • Networks: business associations, informal networks
  • Government and Policy Barriers
    • Perceptions of government
    • Access to business information from government
    • Government services
    • Corruption/informal payments
    • Crime and safety
  • Social Support Barriers
    • Domestic responsibilities
    • Role models: relatives in business, mentors