Why entrepreneurial skills? part 1

Providing women with entrepreneurial skills allows them to grow existing businesses or begin a new business. If NGOs and development agencies aid in providing these skills and protecting women from exploitation, these skills can provide women with economic independence and avenue to a more prosperous future for themselves and their families.  A large portion of the population in developing countries are either self-employed in low paying work or engaged in entrepreneurial activities that have a low return of investment. This keeps many workers trapped in a cycle of poverty.  By providing training and education in business skills and entrepreneurship, development agencies can increase the chances of success by small and medium scale businesses. Business education must include a variety of facets. At minimum, this training should include: business training, networking services, mentorship program and access to finance. Studies conducted by the Global Forum observe the necessities of these and place the greatest emphasis on access to finance. Though I agree that access to finance is imperative, I would argue that access to finance must be encouraged after training in prerequisite skills. Literacy and numeracy should not be underestimated as a primary means of helping low-skilled self-employed workers.

Small-scale entrepreneurs tend to be older and less educated than wage employees. They are more susceptible to volatile labor market activities, which often create greater likelihoods of exiting the labor market rather than moving to other forms of employment. Small scale entrepreneurs face a greater chance of living in poverty than wage employees. According to an IZA World of Labor study, “close to 70% of self-employed workers worldwide live in poor households and strive to make a living with their labor-market activities”[1] This is why it is important to target this group of people for business education. This is a group of creative minded individuals who work hard each day but are lacking the basic understanding of business development and management. Providing women with business education will give them the tools they need to thrive and create the path to economic independence.


Blog post by Linnie Pawlek, founder of Teach By Tech, Inc. a 501 (c)3 organization located in Colorado, USA. To learn more about how Teach By Tech is working to make education accessible to women of the urban slums in the developing world visit our webpage: www.teachbytech.org

[1] “Entrepreneurship for the poor in developing countries”   https://wol.iza.org/articles/entrepreneurship-for-poor-in-developing-countries/long#izawol.167-biblStruct-000003