Commonwealth supports female entrepreneurs in Asia to leverage e-commerce opportunities

Last week the Commonwealth Secretariat held a three-day workshop in Nepal for grassroots female entrepreneurs to help them leverage digital infrastructure opportunities for E-Commerce and Digital Marketing.

The women attending the workshop hailed from countries across South Asia including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. During the workshop, many participants spoke of the challenges they faced in running their businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic, some had been forced to close their businesses whilst others had to shift their business online in order to keep trading.

The workshop was held by the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Physical Connectivity Cluster of the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda in collaboration with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) South and South-West Asia Office, the South Asian Women Development Forum and the Enhanced Integrated Framework.

This workshop is a part of the implementation of the Agreed Principles of Sustainable Investment in Digital Infrastructure for the Physical Connectivity Cluster of the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda, which is led by The Gambia.

In her special address the Commonwealth Secretary-General Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland QC said:

“The pandemic caused entire economies across the Commonwealth to effectively shut down and the economic disruption continues. The 32 Commonwealth Small States were disproportionately affected, and women have been the hardest hit. A key focus of the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda is closing the digital divide. The Commonwealth Secretariat has engaged in peer-to-peer learning, knowledge exchange and capacity building.  We launched a new e-learning course on digital infrastructure and the digital divide, and we’ve developed community partnerships with tech companies such as Oracle. These initiatives help to shape policies to provide practical skills to help overcome the digital divide.”

During the workshop, participants learnt about a trading platform exclusively for women entrepreneurs to sell their products online. At the end of the workshop 81 women entrepreneurs registered on the platform.

The training was delivered by Dr Radika Kumar, Adviser infrastructure policy from the Commonwealth Secretariat and resource persons from ESCAP Asia Pacific.

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