eT4W Fosterin Women Entrepreneurship in the Digital Economy 2019-2021 Cohort


Fostering Women
Entrepreneurship in
the Digital Economy

Insights from UNCTAD’s eTrade for Women Advocates 2019–2021 Cohort

eT4W Fosterin Women Entrepreneurship in the Digital Economy 2019-2021 Cohort

Building on the experience of the first cohort of eTrade for Women Advocates – 7 outstanding women leaders appointed by UNCTAD to foster women’s participation in the digital economy – this paper reviews the main obstacles that women digital entrepreneurs face in developing countries. Uncovering the Advocates’ entrepreneurial journey, the paper highlights some of the key factors behind their success as business leaders, and explores how to help more women follow in their footsteps, to make the digital economy more inclusive.

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Clarisse Iribagiza

Founder of Hehe
“I came on the scene just at the right time, as a woman leader in tech in Rwanda. There was a lot of Government and institutional support, which was a huge encouragement. But I also come from a family who supported me to feel like I could achieve anything I set my mind to.”

Nina Angelovska

Founder of
North Macedonia
“There were many obstacles standing in our path: lack of habit for online buying, small share of active payment cards in circulation, safety concerns and lack of trust in buying online, lack of skills and adoption of new trends among merchants, legal issues, (…) and administrative burdens.”

Patricia Zoundi Yao

Founder of Quick Cash
Côte d’Ivoire
“I have learned that when speaking with policymakers, we should come not only with the ‘problem’ but also with the ‘solution’ if we expect to see actions taken. Policymakers will listen and understand the challenges that the businesses are facing.”

Helianti Hilman

Founder of Javara
“We embarked in Javara on an ambitious digital agenda putting e-commerce in focus. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we were prepared to turn it into an opportunity and grow our business even though the agribusiness was negatively affected.”

Xiaofei Yao

Founder of Rogrand
“It is critical to help other women understand the entrepreneurial journey, and share the real stories and learnings, especially regarding critical business decisions. This means sharing about what you have done right but most importantly about what you have done wrong.”

Nazanin Daneshvar

Founder of
“During the first two years of existence of my company, Takhfifan, people could not believe I was the one in charge. When attending important meetings, I often had to bring male relatives with me to close business deals. (…) But I believe in the fact that you either find your way, or make your way.”

Claudia de Heredia

Founder of Kichink
“I had to do this all on my own. I really think that having a person, just someone to believe in you could make all the difference.”

  • November 23, 2022
  • November 15, 2022
  • September 28, 2022
  • July 15, 2022
  • July 12, 2022
  • April 18, 2022
  • December 13, 2021
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