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E-Commerce Opportunities through Smartphones and Women's Entrepreneurship and Empowerment

The cottage, small and medium enterprises play a vital role in economic development, including production, employment generation, and equitable income distribution. For example, these enterprises offer more than 50% of total global employment and about 90% of the businesses worldwide. Moreover, formal small enterprises contribute up to 40% of national income in emerging economies. However, small enterprises experience challenges in running their businesses. This scenario even worsens during the pandemic. In addition, women entrepreneurs face these constraints even on a grander scale.

The pandemic forces small enterprises to adopt and integrate digital technology for their survival. Therefore, UNDP Bangladesh initiates various projects to make women entrepreneurs better off. While implementing various projects, UNDP Bangladesh also realized e-commerce could help overcome the adverse business situation caused by the pandemic. They also identified that smartphones would be the most convenient tool to get the highest benefits from e-commerce. As smartphones are relatively expensive for many women entrepreneurs, UNDP Bangladesh planned to provide them with smartphones to participate in online business activities. Accordingly, the development partner targets 200 women entrepreneurs and plans to facilitate training programs on relevant skills to address entrepreneurs' e-commerce-related limited knowledge.

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