Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator Partners with the WE Empower UN SDG Challenge to Maximize the Development Impact of Women Entrepreneurs OutBuro lgbtq professionals networking online community

Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator Partners with the WE Empower UN SDG Challenge to Maximize the Development Impact of Women Entrepreneurs

The WE Empower Challenge, a Programme co-led by Vital Voices & the Global Futures Laboratory at Arizona State University, is a First-of-its-Kind Competition for Women Social Entrepreneurs

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator (WEA), a strategic multi-partnership convening five United Nations agencies and Mary Kay, Inc., in support of last week Global Entrepreneurship Week and Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, announced a partnership with WE Empower UN SDG challenge, a first-of-its-kind competition for women social entrepreneurs across the world.

Women's Entrepreneurship Accelerator Logo
WE Empower UN SDG Challenge Programme Logo JPG

WEA is designed to maximize the development impact of women entrepreneurship in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by creating an enabling ecosystem for women entrepreneurs that fosters growth, sustainability, and resilience. UN Partners of WEA include International Labour Organization (ILO), International Trade Centre (ITC), UN Global Compact (UNGC), UN Development Programme (UNDP), and UN Women.

The WE Empower UN SDG Challenge is a global business competition for women entrepreneurs who are advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals and inspiring entire communities to act to create the world they want by 2030. The WE Empower UN SDG Challenge honors women entrepreneurs who are advancing the SDGs through their business practices. The opportunity recognizes their innovative work, ignites awareness about the valuable contribution women entrepreneurs can make toward the SDGs, and provides awardees with capacity-building training sessions and connections with business experts around the world.

The programme elevates and showcases the valuable contributions women entrepreneurs and business leaders can make toward the SDGs and solving the world’s greatest challenges. WE Empower is co-led by Vital Voices and Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory at ASU and supported by partners at Bank of Montréal (BMO), Diane von Furstenberg, the G5 Collective, GroYourBiz, Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, Mary Kay, Inc., Oxford University Said Business School, Procter & Gamble, Salesforce, UN Foundation, and the World Bank.

“The WE Empower SDG Challenge powerfully showcases women entrepreneurs as ideal role models demonstrating positive business, social and environmental performance,” said Deborah Gibbins, Chief Operating Officer at Mary Kay, Inc. “The Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator is honored to partner with WE Empower, a consortium of over 70 partners joining forces for an even greater multiplied impact.”

“We are thrilled to celebrate our partnership with the Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator, co-founded by WE Empower lead partner Mary Kay, Inc.,” said WE Empower UN SDG Challenge co-chair & ASU Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory’s Amanda Ellis. “Women entrepreneurs are valuable solutionaries for the UN SDGs and the global 2030 agenda, and WEA unlocks a suite of valuable support tools to help amplify positive impact.”

Globally, women already comprise one-third of all business owners, making critical economic and social contributions, despite the systemic barriers they face. Only five percent of countries legislate for full gender equality, making the support tools provided by the Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator even more important. In June 2021, WEA joined the Generation Equality Forum in Paris as well as the Action Coalition on Economic Justice and Rights, and committed to empower five million women entrepreneurs around the world by 2030 to accelerate progress for gender equality.

During UN General Assembly (UNGA 76), WEA announced the launch of a series of impactful initiatives and knowledge products – all shaped through a gender lens. WEA’s impact work includes digital capacity building tools and training, entrepreneurship and policy research, and gender-responsive procurement (GRP) advocacy and training. In October, WEA also announced a milestone partnership with the Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network (CBWN) aiming at advancing women entrepreneurship in 54 countries of the Commonwealth.

About the Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator

The Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator (WEA) is a multi-partnership initiative on women’s entrepreneurship convening 5 UN agencies, International Labour Organization (ILO), International Trade Centre (ITC), UN Global Compact (UNGC), UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Women and Mary Kay, Inc. to empower 5 million women entrepreneurs by 2030.

The ultimate goal of the initiative is to maximize the development impact of women entrepreneurship in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by creating an enabling ecosystem for women entrepreneurs around the world. The Accelerator exemplifies the transformational power of a multi-partnership of unique magnitude to harness the potential of women entrepreneurs.

Learn more at we-accelerate. Follow us: Twitter (@We_Accelerator), Instagram (@we_accelerator), Facebook (@womensentrepreneurshipaccelerator), LinkedIn (@womensentrepreneurshipaccelerator)

About WE Empower UN SDG Challenge

The WE Empower UN SDG Challenge is the first-of-its-kind global competition for women social entrepreneurs who are advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals and inspiring entire communities to act to create the world we want by 2030. The WE Empower Challenge honors innovative women leaders from around the world who are pushing the SDGs forward through sustainable business practices and inspiring others to follow suit. The opportunity recognizes their innovative work and provides Awardees with capacity-building training sessions and opportunities to connect with an unparalleled global network to advance their enterprises. This program elevates and showcases the valuable contribution women entrepreneurs and business leaders can make toward the SDGs and solving the world’s greatest challenges.

About Vital Voices Global Partnership

Vital Voices Global Partnership is an international non-profit organization that identifies and partners with creative and fearless women leaders around the world. Vital Voices searches the world for women leaders with daring vision for change, then works with them to make that vision a reality. We are venture catalysts, who provide leaders with capacity building, skills training, grants, access to a network of their peers, mentorship, visibility, recognition, and guidance to accelerate change on a global scale. For more than 20 years, Vital Voices has invested in over 18,000 women leaders from 182 countries and territories, who have then gone on to create change affecting millions around the world. Vital Voices works with women who advance economic opportunity, increase political and public engagement, end gender-based violence and promote human rights through signature fellowships, individualized investments and meaningful, lifelong partnerships. Vital Voices connects women solving problems in their communities and equips them with the tools they need to incite global, positive change and accelerate shared progress for all. Visit www.vitalvoices.org to learn more.

About Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory at ASU

The Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory at Arizona State University represents the urgent belief that we can and must make a meaningful contribution to ensuring a habitable planet and a future in which well-being is attainable. The Global Futures Laboratory is the world’s first laboratory dedicated to the health of the planet and its inhabitants. It is built upon the deep expertise of ASU and leveraging an extensive network of partners for an ongoing and wide-ranging exchange across all knowledge domains to address the complex social, economic and scientific challenges spawned by the current and future threats from environmental degradation. This platform positions a new world headquarters for an international array of scientists, scholars and innovators and lays the foundation to anticipate and respond to existing and emerging challenges and use innovation to purposefully shape and inform our future. For more information visit globalfutures.asu.edu.

Contacts

Mary Kay Inc. Corporate Communications

marykay.com/newsroom
(+1) 972.687.5332 or media@mkcorp.com

Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator Announces Partnership With Commonwealth to Drive Change for Women Entrepreneurs in 54 Countries OutBuro lgbt professional entreprenuer networking online

Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator Announces Partnership With Commonwealth to Drive Change for Women Entrepreneurs in 54 Countries

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator (WEA), a strategic multi-partnership convening five UN agencies and Mary Kay Inc., is today joining forces with the Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network (CBWN) to empower and support underserved women entrepreneurs across the 54 countries of the Commonwealth.

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5362735 WEA Master Logo RED 3.25

WEA is designed to maximize the development impact of women entrepreneurship in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by creating an enabling ecosystem for women entrepreneurs that fosters growth, sustainability, and resilience. In June 2021, WEA joined the Generation Equality Forum in Paris and committed to empower five million women around the world by 2030 to accelerate progress for gender equality.

WEA recently announced the launch of a series of impactful initiatives and knowledge products, all shaped through a gender lens, as the joint outcome of the collaboration between the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Trade Centre (ITC), UN Global Compact (UNGC), UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Women with the strategic support and funding of Mary Kay. WEA’s impact work includes digital capacity building tools and training; entrepreneurship research; and gender-responsive procurement (GRP) advocacy and training.

CBWN works with women in business by connecting governments and the private sector to encourage, enable and embed women’s economic empowerment and women in leadership. Originating in May 2021, the Commonwealth Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator (CWEA) is a strategic multi-stakeholder partnership from the CBWN, the Global Entrepreneurship Network UK (GEN UK) and Oxentia. It is a direct response to three developments: the agreement by all Commonwealth Heads of Government in London in 2018 “to work towards an increase in the number and enhancement of the success rate of women-owned businesses, break down gender barriers in all sectors, and increase opportunities for women to trade internationally”; the recognition by the G20 in 2020 that “there is a missed opportunity – to tackle the gap that needs immediate action, which is the representation of women in emerging fields”; and the UN Global Acceleration Plan to advance gender equality by 2026 and its Action Coalitions on Economic Justice and Rights and Technology and Innovation launched in 2021.

The new partnership with CBWN in support of CWEA further solidifies WEA’s geographic scope of action across the 54 Commonwealth diverse country members in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe, and the Pacific, with 32 countries classified as “small states.” Small states are especially vulnerable to climate change and developmental challenges including gender inequalities.

Beyond scaling WEA and CBWN’s foundational areas of work, the partnership will also significantly focus on policy and advocacy to advance systemic change engaging Commonwealth member states and leveraging its networks of organizations and key stakeholders in support of women in business or aspiring women entrepreneurs in and across the Commonwealth.

“We know that multi-stakeholder partnerships and collective engagement is crucial to drive the change that women entrepreneurs need across sectors around the world,” said Deborah Gibbins, Chief Operating Officer of Mary Kay Inc. “WEA is thrilled to join forces with the Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network and the Commonwealth Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator. Our collaboration will focus on augmenting, amplifying and accelerating impact. We’re more powerful together, and I look forward to our collective action journey in support of the SDGs.”

“The Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network is delighted to partner with the United Nations Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator in this landmark initiative so we can unlock and unleash the power and potential for more women of diverse backgrounds,” said Freda Miriklis, Chair, Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network. “Through this partnership, we’ll be able to more quickly harness our collective assets – for women, their communities and every girl that can and will be inspired by their stories.”

To learn more about the Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator, visit we-accelerate.com.

About the Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator

The Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator (WEA) is a multi-partnership initiative on women’s entrepreneurship convening 5 UN agencies, International Labour Organization (ILO), International Trade Centre (ITC), UN Global Compact (UNGC), UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Women and Mary Kay Inc. to empower 5 million women entrepreneurs by 2030.

The ultimate goal of the initiative is to maximize the development impact of women entrepreneurship in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by creating an enabling ecosystem for women entrepreneurs around the world. The Accelerator exemplifies the transformational power of a multi-partnership of unique magnitude to harness the potential of women entrepreneurs.

Learn more at we-accelerate. Follow us: Twitter (@We_Accelerator), Instagram (@we_accelerator), Facebook (@womensentrepreneurshipaccelerator), LinkedIn (@womensentrepreneurshipaccelerator)

About the Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network

The Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network (CBWN) works with women in business by connecting Governments and the private sector to encourage, enable and embed women’s economic empowerment. This is achieved through delivering activities, initiatives, products, and services focused on trade, talent, and training. It is the only accredited organisation focused on women’s economic empowerment and directly recognized by 54 governments across six continents. Learn more at www.cbwn.org

About the Commonwealth Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator

The Commonwealth Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator is a strategic multi stakeholder partnership on women’s entrepreneurship established as an outcome of the inaugural Commonwealth Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit (CWES) in May 2021, the first global event to focus on women in emerging tech sectors. CWES was convened by the Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network; the Global Entrepreneurship Network; the UK Government (Women in Innovation Network, a programme of Innovation UK); and Africa’s largest network of women entrepreneurs (AWEP: African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program). The Commonwealth Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator is a partnership between the Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network, Global Entrepreneurship Network-UK and Oxentia. Learn more at www.thecwea.org

About Mary Kay

One of the original glass ceiling breakers, Mary Kay Ash founded her beauty company more than 58 years ago with three goals: develop rewarding opportunities for women, offer irresistible products, and make the world a better place. That dream has blossomed into a multibillion-dollar company with millions of independent sales force members in nearly 40 countries. Mary Kay is dedicated to investing in the science behind beauty and manufacturing cutting-edge skin care, color cosmetics, nutritional supplements, and fragrances. Mary Kay is committed to empowering women and their families by partnering with organizations from around the world, focusing on supporting cancer research, protecting survivors from domestic abuse, beautifying our communities, and encouraging children to follow their dreams. Mary Kay Ash’s original vision continues to shine—one lipstick at a time. Learn more at marykayglobal.com

Contacts

Mary Kay Inc. Corporate Communications

marykay.com/newsroom
(+1) 972.687.5332 or   media@mkcorp.com

10000 Women HereToBeHeard Mars Unveils Findings Global Listening Study Advance Gender Equity OutBuro lgbt professional entreprenuer networking online community gay lesbian transgender queer

10,000 Women, #HereToBeHeard: Mars Unveils Findings from Global Listening Study to Advance Gender Equity

MCLEAN, Va., Oct. 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Mars, Incorporated today released the findings of #HereToBeHeard, a global listening study created to amplify the voices of women across all intersections – including race, age, sexuality, religion, disability and more – in a meaningful dialogue on how to shape a more inclusive world. Launched at a time when the crushing and disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on women has set the march to equality back by 136 years1, the new report aims to advance action on gender equity.

In just three months, 10,319 women from 88 countries took part in a crowdsourcing initiative and were inspired to answer one question: What needs to change so more women can reach their full potential?  From soundbites to deeply personal perspectives, women called for systemic change they want to see from their employers, governments, communities and men to break down the barriers they face. The result is a timely, inspiring report that challenges society at large to listen, learn and do more to help deliver gender equity. The study is part of the Mars Full Potential platform to advance action on gender equity.

Stefanie Straub, Vice President & General Counsel, Mars, Incorporated comments: “#HereToBeHeard is already having a profound impact on how we use our scale and influence as a global business to help create enduring, positive change for all women.  At Mars, we’re committed to doing our part and the report lays out the pieces of the puzzle that can help us focus our actions to create a more equitable, inclusive environment. We’re using its data and the expert recommendations to fuel our next steps, shape our priorities, and guide our investments. The message is loud and clear – it’s up to all of us to march forward and help 10,000 voices reach their full potential.”

Mars worked with a team of scientists from the Oxford University Saïd Business School’s Future of Marketing Initiative and external qualitative analysts to examine women’s responses. Through a combination of machine learning and network analysis, the Oxford team identified 28 topics, which were qualitatively grouped into eight themes most frequently mentioned by women: 

  1. An End to Systemic Discrimination and Harmful Gender Stereotypes (80%)
  2. Equal Career Opportunities (79%)
  3. More Decision-Making Power (65%)
  4. Support as Parents (30%)
  5. Greater Work/Life Balance (26%)
  6. Gender Equal Learning (24%)
  7. Mental and Physical Wellbeing (19%)
  8. An End to Gender Based Harassment and Violence (15%)

Notably, 71 percent of women stressed that men play a critical role – either as allies in solutions or as barriers to progress.

What Business and Others Can Do
Globally, the pandemic wreaked havoc on women in the workforce, triggering a “she-cession” that cost 64 million jobs and at least $800 billion in income – the combined GDP of 98 countries.2  This mass exodus of talent and potential represents both a tragic loss and an undeniable social responsibility for business to lead the recovery by creating more opportunities for all women to thrive.

Based on key findings from #HeretoBeHeard, BSR – in consultation with gender experts from The Unstereotype Alliance, convened by UN Women, CARE, and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in the Media – have provided eight practical recommendations to help break down barriers women face to achieving their full potential.

“Businesses often move quickly to offer solutions, but there is something quietly radical about asking an open question, taking the time to listen and then acting with women, not just on their behalf” said Christine Svarer, BSR Director, HERproject. “The recommendations included in the #HereToBeHeard report are relevant and useful to any company committed to advancing gender equity – but they are only a starting point. Transformational change ultimately requires continued engagement. By purposefully giving women a meaningful role in decision-making, they can help to create the programs and policies required to address the barriers facing women of all backgrounds and create a more equitable, inclusive world.”

Moving forward, Mars will leverage the insights from #HereToBeHeard – which includes more than 1,200 Mars Associate voices – to design and implement new policies and actions in service of the Mars Full Potential gender equity platform, launched in 2020.  Since then, Mars has taken a series of evolving actions to unlock opportunities for women in its workplaces, sourcing communities, and the marketplace. The business has confirmed gender pay equity across its global workforce of 133,000 Associates, half of whom are women. Among a set of other I&D targets, Mars set a goal of reaching 100% gender balanced leadership teams.3 In its first year, the business made notable progress against this goal, increasing the balance from 43% to 50% today. 

Victoria Mars, family member and ambassador of the Mars Full Potential program: “We heard from women around the world who shared their stories, their ideas, their ambitions, and their frustrations. It’s a simple question but the depth and breadth of the answers have been insightful, challenging and moving. Businesses must do their bit to make a difference. Mars remains deeply committed to this work and we encourage businesses, governments and more civil society partners to step up action and invest where it matters most. May their 10,000 voices be a powerful instrument for change.”

To help advance gender equity, listen, learn, do more: www.mars.com/heretobeheard
Together, we can ensure more women will reach their full potential.

THEMES, VOICES & INSIGHTS:

1.     An End to Systemic Discrimination and Harmful Gender Stereotypes (80%)
“A new system is needed: one where women are conceived as strong, respected, and with the same abilities as any human being, without any prejudice. Different possibilities are needed for each woman, including transgender, Indigenous, immigrant, single mothers.” — Mexico, 18–24 years old, self-employed, mixed race/ethnicity, bisexual

Many of the women mentioned the need to address patriarchal systems and norms permeating politics, sports, work, education, family, and social life. They stressed the need to change how society views women’s strengths and skills, recognizing that both women and men have a role to play in changing these mindsets. Women just beginning their careers, ages 18–24, were the most likely to mention this theme (87%), as were women in the U.K. (84%) and the U.S. (87%).

2.     Equal Career Opportunities (79%)
“Expectations about how to develop a senior career must change to give women the space to grow their career alongside their personal aspirations.” – France, 45–54 years old, employed full-time, heterosexual

Women responded saying equal career opportunities are critical to break the “glass ceiling” and “level the playing field.” Women called on government and company-led initiatives to drive this change, including the importance of mentors and sponsors along the way. The gender pay gap was widely mentioned alongside its negative financial impacts on women and their families. While women across geographies and from diverse backgrounds spoke to this theme, particularly high levels of Hispanic and Latina women mentioned it (88%).

3.     More Decision-Making Power (65%)
“More women need to be present in leadership roles across all industries. Women—and not just White women, ALL women.” – UK, 18–24 years old, employed full-time, Asian/Asian-British, heterosexual

African American and Black women were more likely to speak to this topic (75% compared to 65% for the global group) as were women from the U.S. and U.K., particularly in relation to needing more women of color and other underrepresented groups in positions of power.Responses indicate a desire to see more women in positions of power in governments, businesses, communities, and families.

4.     Support as Parents (30%)
“When a man works late, he’s providing for his family. When a woman works later, she’s abandoning hers.” – U.S., 35–44 years old, employed full-time, White, heterosexual

Lack of “Support as Parents” was consistently identified as a barrier to fully engaging as mothers, caretakers, and employees. Women stressed the need for adequate paid leave to care for their newborns, assurance that their career would not be impacted, and a culture that accepts and encourages all parents to take leave regardless of their gender. This theme stood out among employed women in the 35–44 age range and women in the U.K., who mentioned “Support as Parents” 20% more often than the global group.

5.     Greater Work/Life Balance (26%)
“For me, that means … safeguarding certain areas in my life.”  – UK, 35–44 years old, employed full-time

Mothers in particular called out the challenge of balancing personal responsibilities and paid work, with little flexibility around working hours, location, and expectations. Regardless of location, women between the ages of 25–44 were 23% more likely to mention this theme than other groups. Their solutions covered ideas such as allowing more flexibility at work, and a strong push to break the stereotypes of women as the only suitable caretakers by having men take on their fair share of care outside of work.

6.     Gender Equal Learning (24%)
“Misogyny and sexism are taught from the earliest moments and permeate through the rest of our lives at work, school, and everyday life. It needs to be nipped at the bud and that can only be done through generational work, seeing women get to work in any industry they want, and equalizing social and gender roles.”  — U.S., 18–24 years old, student, Black/African descent, lesbian

The importance of education free from gender stereotypes was cited as critical for girls to see themselves in roles and fields where women are still underrepresented, such as STEM. This topic was raised by roughly 20–30% of women across different age, geographic, or ethnic groups, with a slightly higher rate for women in the U.S. Women emphasized the need for gender-neutral participation in all activities (e.g., sports, science, tech) and stressed that boys, like girls, need to be taught that everyone can achieve what they set their minds to and are not limited by their gender. They called for more role models for girls from different careers to inspire the next generation of female leaders in all fields. Women in France (34%) had a much higher instance of this theme.

7.     Mental and Physical Wellbeing (19%)
“It’s common for women’s issues to be dismissed, overlooked, or downplayed by medical professionals, preventing women from receiving necessary treatment and support, which sometimes has fatal consequences….” – U.S., 25–34 years old, employed full-time, White, bisexual

Women called for better access to healthcare services for both “Mental and Physical Well-Being.” They cited difficulties receiving proper healthcare, situations that were often exacerbated for women of color or those who cannot afford proper care. Women called out their health as under-researched and underfunded, leading to undiagnosed illnesses or misdiagnoses. They stressed the need to have control over their bodies and have the ability to make the right decisions for themselves by having access to resources such as contraception and mental health support, control over their reproductive rights, and proper sex education. Women who were either fully employed or between the ages of 25–44 cited this more frequency than other groups.

8.     An End to Gender Based Harassment and Violence (15%)
“We need to be seen as people, not objects. We need to be heard and [we need people to] believe what we say when we do it. We need our decisions to be respected.” Mexico, student, bisexual

Greater accountability from governments and businesses are needed to implement laws and policies to protect women and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions. Respondents called on men to take accountability for and stop misogynistic thinking and behavior and asked them to actively call out violent words and behavior by other men to create safer environments for everyone. Women of all backgrounds mentioned this topic to varying degrees. Asian and Hispanic/Latina women (23%), women with a disability (28%), and LGBTQI+ women (33%) mentioned this topic more often and U.S. respondents were also more likely to raise this theme than the global average.

Women Said Men Can be Both Allies and Barriers to Progress
“Men need to change…. Men have to choose to be different on their own, and until that happens, I think it’s going to be very hard for women to reach our full potential.” –  U.S., 35–44 years old, self-employed, mental health/emotional disability, physical disability, Black/African descent, heterosexual

While the eight themes represent opportunities for specific programmatic or policy changes, the data analysis revealed one more trend: the role of men in achieving gender equity. Most women (71%) mentioned men as either a barrier or ally to achieve their full potential. Women were clear in their call for men to change and assume accountability for harmful and discriminatory actions against women. They stressed the need for men to step up at home and take on their share of domestic and care work, to speak up at work when they hear derogatory comments, and to make space for women’s voices to be heard.

QUOTES FOR ATTRIBUTION
Partner Quotes:

Michelle Nunn, Chief Executive Officer of CARE: “Mars’ #HereToBeHeard is a critically important platform to help elevate the issues women face every day in their struggles to achieve gender equality. CARE has worked with women and girls to combat the systemic drivers of poverty for decades.  Based on that experience we know that when there is gender justice and women use their power, equality, rights, and human dignity also prevail.”

Madeline Di Nonno, Chief Executive Officer of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media: “The findings in the latest #HereToBeHeard report are unequivocal – the world has to change for women and girls to reach their full potential. One way in which businesses and brands can do that is by eradicating negative stereotypes of women and girls in media and advertising. Eliminating harmful bias in media advertising is not only the right and responsible thing to do, and companies and creatives that have invested in developing inclusive cultures and content will prevail.”

Professor Andrew Stephen, Associate Dean of Research, L’Oréal Professor of Marketing and Director of FOMI at Oxford Saïd: “The #HereToBeHeard research provides a number of very powerful findings. This should serve as yet another significant call to action for all of us to look at specific things that we can do in our organisations, institutions, and societies to address gender disparities so that we can break down the barriers that prevent women from reaching their full potential. The recommendations coming out of this research are practical, actionable steps that organisations can take. I’m proud that the Saïd Business School was able to contribute to this project.”

Sara Denby, Head of The Unstereotype Alliance Secretariat, UN Women: “#HereToBeHeard is a fantastic example of an evidence-based approach to driving impactful change. By listening to the lived experiences of women worldwide, this clear set of actions can help organisations develop a relevant path toward gender equality. The huge proportion of women who mentioned ‘an end to systemic discrimination and harmful stereotypes’ as an area for change (80%) underscores the need to ruthlessly scrutinise bias and challenge stereotypes wherever they occur. Advertising and marketing communications can dismantle some of the entrenched stereotypes that hold women back. This is a priority for women, and should be a priority for organisations too.”

ABOUT #HERETOBEHEARD
#HereToBeHeard is a global campaign from Mars, Incorporated which drives change on gender inequality, in support of Goal Five of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. It is part of Full Potential, the Mars platform for action on gender which aims to empower women and close the gender gap in the places we work, the communities where we source our ingredients and in the way we create our advertising.  For more information on the #HereToBeHeard report by BSR and an update on the Mars Full Potential platform please visit mars.com/heretobeheard

All women who responded to the #HereToBeHeard study gave permission to use their written and recorded responses.

ABOUT MARS, INCORPORATED
For more than a century, Mars, Incorporated has been driven by the belief that the world we want tomorrow starts with how we do business today. This idea is at the center of who we have always been as a global, family-owned business. Today, Mars is transforming, innovating and evolving in ways that affirm our commitment to making a positive impact on the world around us.   Across our diverse and expanding portfolio of confectionery, food, and pet care products and services, we employ 133,000 dedicated Associates who are all moving in the same direction: forward. With $40 billion in annual sales, we produce some of the world’s best-loved brands including DOVE®, EXTRA®, M&M’s®, MILKY WAY®, SNICKERS®, TWIX®, ORBIT®, PEDIGREE®, ROYAL CANIN®, SKITTLES®, BEN’S ORIGINAL™, WHISKAS®, COCOAVIA®, and 5™; and take care of half of the world’s pets through our nutrition, health and services businesses, including AniCura, Banfield Pet Hospitals™, BluePearl®, Linnaeus, and VCA™. 

We know we can only be truly successful if our partners and the communities in which we operate prosper as well. The Mars Five Principles – Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency and Freedom – inspire our Associates to take action every day to help create a world tomorrow in which the planet, its people and pets can thrive.  For more information about Mars, please visit www.mars.com. Join us. on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.

1 https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/04/136-years-is-the-estimated-journey-time-to-gender-equality/
2 https://www.oxfam.org/en/press-releases/covid-19-cost-women-globally-over-800-billion-lost-income-one-year
3 Gender Balanced is defined as 40 – 60% of any one gender, in Leadership Teams with 5+ Associates

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Black Business Owners, Celebrities, Influencers, and Leaders Gather with Visa at CEO's Making Waves for Black Women in Business, Helping Corporations Fulfill Commitment to Equality and Inclusion

Black Business Owners, Celebrities, Influencers, and Leaders Gather with Visa at CEO’s Making Waves for Black Women in Business, Helping Corporations Fulfill Commitment to Equality and Inclusion

Two-Day Conference Provides Vital Resources for Black Women in Business

CEOsMakingWaves

OAKLAND, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–On October 26th and 27th, CEO’s Making Waves for Black Women In Business: Growth, Impact, & Community will kick off a two-day conference by welcoming Black women-owned businesses, industry leaders, and corporations in addressing the need for systemic change in leadership, gender, and race equality in a variety of different industries.

The two-day event will feature discussions from black business owners such as influencer Necole Kane – CEO/Founder of XONecole and Whitney Harper (Brand Manager/Creative Director for Rapper Sweetie) and (Host) Sports Broadcaster Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, along with many other amazing business professionals in different sectors who will share their insights on relevant topics and resources aimed at enhancing the approaches of Black professionals and CEO’s. By strengthening woman-owned companies within the Black community, CEO’s Making Waves will work on closing the 90% wealth gap faced by Black women in business today.

“This is a much-needed event to support the Black women in our communities starting in California with the large tech companies,” says Myeshia Jefferson, founder of Beauty Makes Cents LLC, a company dedicated to increasing entrepreneurial education through events, training, hands-on support, and empowerment.

Jefferson continues, “CEO’s Making Waves will help attendees tap into resources they may not know are available. Many black-owned businesses don’t need a handout, we need a hand up. As a Black entrepreneur, I understand firsthand the struggle of navigating the business world, and the challenges that Black women in business face to get access to the right people and positions that can open doors. Sometimes, we need more hands-on support to guide us to the next level. Many of the large organizations have the means and the resources to help.”

Aiming to connect start-ups and small business owners to companies with resources and mentors available for Black entrepreneurs, the event will act as a foundation for future growth and opportunities. Featuring an impressive lineup of keynote speakers, discussion panels, fireside chats, mentorship sessions, and workshops, CEO’s Making Waves will touch on a wide range of topics, such as entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, the future of e-commerce, the entertainment industry, sports, wellness, women empowerment, and recruiting.

“This year will have virtual celebrity appearances from Akon, Niecy Nash, Tamar Braxton, and more; but next year we will host the event in-person where we can include interactive activities such as dancing, live music, and a yacht experience! We see this as a great opportunity for black women entrepreneurs to connect, network, and grow,” says Jefferson.

CEO’s Making Waves 2021 participants will also have the chance to win mentorships from top industry leaders through an exclusive guest contest. Organizations can make this an opportunity to build trust and loyalty, while more Black women gain access and support.

Registration is open to all. Remaining space is filling up quickly, so get your tickets soon! Visit CEO’s Making Waves to secure your tickets and learn more.

About CEO’s Making Waves for Black Women In Business

CEO’s Making Waves for Black Women in Business was created in effort to get corporations to walk the talk of addressing the need for systemic change in leadership, gender equality, and race equality by supporting women-owned businesses and professionals. We aim to economically empower 1,000 Black women in California by 2022 with an end goal of closing the racial wealth gap with the help of our future partners.

Contacts

Myeshia Jefferson

Info@ceosmakingwaves.com

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Cross River and TechUnited Join Forces to Propel Entrepreneurs and Empower More Small Businesses in New Jersey

Cross River and TechUnited launch Women & Minority Business Owners Mentorship Cohort

Cross River is investing in its backyard by continuing to cultivate the NJ ecosystem through job creation, community partnerships and empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs

FORT LEE, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Cross River Bank (“Cross River”), a technology-driven financial services organization that provides core infrastructure and embedded financial solutions and TechUnited:NJ, a membership-driven, non-profit organization that offers opportunities for tech-enabled companies and entrepreneurs to collaborate, today announced a groundbreaking partnership to propel the future of New Jersey by increasing support for small businesses and entrepreneurs in the state, particularly by providing additional resources to women and minority business owners.

“Our success at Cross River is emblematic of the growth of the New Jersey technology ecosystem, and we are humbled to play a part in cultivating, hiring, and investing in our backyard,” said Phil Goldfeder, SVP of Global Public Affairs at Cross River. “As one of the largest lenders in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), we safely and securely supported the smallest businesses who needed access to capital and this partnership with TechUnited demonstrates our continued commitment to our mission of serving the smallest businesses and entrepreneurs leading the next generation.”

As said by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy in his welcome remarks at Propelify Innovation Festival: “This event reflects and amplifies the innovative spirit to which New Jersey is responding to a multitude of major challenges. As entrepreneurs and innovators, you continue to reinvent the industry and are critical to the New Jersey economy. Supporting women and minority small businesses through mentorship programs with Cross River… will both transform our state and maintain our commitment to creating a stronger and fairer New Jersey for every family.”

Cross River merges the forward-thinking offerings of a technology company with the established expertise of a bank, while maintaining a strong focus on regulatory compliance and consumer protection. As a New Jersey state-chartered community bank, Cross River has demonstrated firsthand how the state’s structure and support has played an integral role in propelling economic advancement, innovation, and increased investment opportunities. Cross River and TechUnited have been community partners for years, but this partnership is the first of its kind, encompassing a Women & Minority Business Owners Mentorship Cohort, resources for startups and emerging investors, community events, thought leadership and more to propel the greater New Jersey technology and business ecosystems.

The specialized mentorship cohort focuses on providing underrepresented founders and owners with new advantages, resources, and information. The cohort will provide mentorship from executives at Cross River, Amazon, RSM, Deloitte, EY, and more. Within the business community, where startups and small businesses are faced with immeasurable challenges, mentorship, guidance, and community visibility are crucial to provide lasting support. Beyond the 1:1 mentorship, the program also provided four cohort members with grants, subsidized by Cross River, to enable them to present at the Propelify Innovation Festival, on October 6, 2021 in Hoboken, New Jersey.

“Leveraging the TechUnited community and board, as well as our massive annual festival, Propelify, to truly support women and minority founders via this mentorship cohort is critical to the region’s success,” said Aaron Price, CEO of TechUnited. “For entrepreneurs who want to build their companies faster and smarter, this program is for you. We encourage anyone looking for guidance to ensure their business thrives to apply.”

In September of 2021, coming off the success of its 2020-2021 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Cross River launched Making Waves with Cross River, a campaign dedicated to small businesses and entrepreneurs. The campaign is specifically focused on supporting diverse small businesses who are serving their communities and creating jobs and encompasses a number of initiatives in conjunction with community partners including grant programs and small business support.

To learn more, and to get involved, please visit www.crossriver.com/making-waves.

About Cross River

Cross River is a fast-growing financial services organization that merges the forward-thinking offerings of a technology company with the established expertise and traditional services of a bank. Since its founding in 2008, Cross River has developed strategic partnerships with leading technology companies, marketplace lenders and payment providers, while maintaining a strong focus on regulatory compliance and consumer protection. Cross River provides a highly secure, API-based banking platform and comprehensive suite of products encompassing lending, payments, risk management and Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) offerings to deliver responsible financial solutions that empower businesses and consumers anytime, anywhere. Cross River Bank is a New Jersey state-chartered FDIC insured bank. For more information, please visit Cross River’s website at www.crossriver.com or Twitter @crossriverbank.

About TechUnited

TechUnited:NJ (techunited.co) is a membership-driven, non-profit organization with over 500,000 innovator members that offers opportunities for tech-enabled companies and entrepreneurs to propel the future of New Jersey and beyond through events, mentorship, content creation, and more. Founded in 1996 as the NJ Technology Council (NJTC), the organization has established itself as the premiere advocate for the technology community in the region. In 2005, the NJTC helped start a successful venture fund in Tech Council Ventures. In 2019, the NJTC acquired the Propelify Innovation Festival to cast a wider net in the region’s startup community. In 2020, the organization rebranded as TechUnited:NJ and redefined its mission to empower innovators and entrepreneurs who build a better future for all.

Contacts

Cross River

Eden Hoffman

Phone: 201-808-7000 x538

ehoffman@crossriver.com

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Davis Wright Tremaine’s Project W Completes Inaugural Tech Equity Hub Virtual Accelerator Program

Impressive nationwide cohort featured 10 Black and Latinx female entrepreneurs

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Davis Wright Tremaine LLP is pleased to announce the completion of Project W’s inaugural Tech Equity Hub virtual accelerator program, which provided 10 Black and Latinx female founders the tools, resources and connections they need to build successful companies.

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“Tech Equity Hub is our newest initiative to unlock the power of pre-revenue tech companies founded by Black and Latinx women,” said Project W founder Lynn Loacker, partner-in-charge of DWT’s New York office. “These talented founders are innovating in education, healthcare and commerce to address some of the most intractable problems that underrepresented communities are facing. Without a doubt, these remarkable women will leave the world in a better place.”

The program’s full cohort included:

  • Tiffany Hosey – BuilDATAnalytics: Streamlining complex construction projects.
  • Laura Thomas – Effective to Great Education: Social emotional learning technology for underserved school communities.
  • Emily Brown – Free-From Market: Healthy food solutions to improve health and equity outcomes.
  • Sheena Franklin – K’ept Health: Virtual dermatological clinic providing culturally competent care.
  • Aireka Harvell – Nodat: Artificial intelligence to help small businesses drive sales.
  • Noelle Acosta – Noula: Affordable, at-home maternal wellness test kit and personalized pre- and postnatal care plans.
  • Mandy Bowman – Official Black Wall Street: Connecting consumers to Black-owned businesses.
  • Tope Mitchell – Reflekt Me: Personalizing ecommerce by size, body type, skin tone and hair texture.
  • Ashley Williams – RIZZARR, Inc.: Promoting brands through millennial- and Gen Z-created content.
  • Danielle Allen – Si · La · Bul: Video platform for cultural language learning.

During the 12-week program, which ended Sept. 30, the group engaged in workshops, one-on-one mentoring sessions, individualized coaching and tech deep dives, as well as community-building events. The expert faculty and accomplished mentors covered product design and evolution, marketing and sales, business strategy and finance, growth, legal, fundraising and personal development. All of the experts, investors and mentors were committed to help the founders build successful companies. Partners that generously shared their expertise and resources included Coalition Venture Studio, M12 (Microsoft’s venture capital fund), R/GA Ventures, Stripe and U.S. Bank.

“Tech Equity Hub was immensely helpful in solidifying my team’s growth. I love how the program focused on the development of every single department within a company,” said Ashley Williams, founder and CEO of RIZZARR, a tech-enabled content marketplace in which brands can find and work with over 5,000 millennial and Gen Z content creators worldwide. “I really think it’s so wonderful that these programs are being created to help women of color. There’s a lot of conversation going around about what women of color go through with startups, funding, and more, and until now, it’s been a lot of talk: Project W actually put it into action.”

Noula founder and CEO Noelle Acosta added: “As a founder, my background has mainly been in business development and go-to-market strategy, so getting exposure to so many different components of the startup journey has been really helpful. The most helpful part, for me, of Tech Equity Hub has been the fact that the faculty and mentors took the time to understand where I’m at in my startup journey as well as what I do well. I was paired with an investor and a mentor in my field who taught me practical and tangible skills.”

BuilDATAnalytics founder and CEO Tiffany Hosey said: “Tech Equity Hub was organized in a way that I never felt we were being shorted on any programming. For the entire program to focus on women of color, specifically Black and brown, and for Project W to pour all of the resources into the programming, it really felt like there was a sincere commitment to see all of us succeed. No other program in which I’ve been involved – from start to finish – has been comparable.”

About Project W

Project W is Davis Wright Tremaine’s commitment to help women build great companies, advance their careers and achieve parity in the boardroom and the workplace. Through its programming, partnerships with like-minded organizations and national network of over 2,500 founders, investors and executives, Project W is moving the needle in closing the gender equality gap and in advancing the careers and lives of women. For more information, visit https://www.dwt.com/about/project-w.

About Davis Wright Tremaine

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP is an AmLaw 100 firm with more than 600 lawyers representing clients based throughout the United States and around the world. For more information, visit www.dwt.com.

Contacts

Leora Goldfarb

Baretz+Brunelle

Lgoldfarb@baretzbrunelle.com

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 Women Small Business Owners Say They’re Happier Than Ever Being Their Own Boss, Despite Work/Life Balance Struggle and Ongoing Challenges

  •  According to a new Groupon survey of more than 600 women small business owners, 94% are happier than ever being their own boss
  • 64% of women small business owners reported they make just as much or more money than they did before running their own business
  • 76% of women who own their own business said they work more than the standard 8-hour workday, with the average owner working 12 hours a day
  • New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Ohio and California identified as the top states for minority women to state a business

CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Groupon, the go-to destination for local experiences, is encouraging everyone to celebrate October’s National Women’s Small Business Month. To make it easy to support and shop at women-owned businesses, Groupon is featuring approximately 2,000 women-owned businesses from across the United States. Groupon spoke with more than 600 women small business owners from around the United States to better understand why they decided to become their own boss and how they have remained resilient during the global pandemic.

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Women Small Business Owners Say They’re Held to a Different Standard than Men

According to the survey results, women small business owners continue to face systemic challenges as a result of their gender. Fifty-four percent of women small business owners said they’re held to a different standard than their male counterparts when it comes to accessing capital, acquiring mentors and being taken seriously by their peers. Fifty-four percent of survey respondents also said that it’s harder for them to balance work and family life.

Women Put in the Work to be Their Own Boss

Despite these obstacles, nearly all women small business owners––an overwhelming 94%––are happy with their choice to work for themselves and ready to overcome any challenges thrown their way. Seventy-six percent of women small business owners work beyond the standard 8-hour work day, with the average owner working 12 hours a day. And this hard work is paying off, as 64% of women small business owners said they make as much or more money than they did before opening their own business.

“As one of the largest marketplaces of women-owned small businesses anywhere in the world, we’re excited and encouraged by the progress these entrepreneurs are making, and we’re focused on opening up new opportunities for women –– both internally and externally –– to create a Groupon that’s reflective of the world we want to live in,” said Groupon’s Chief Financial Officer Melissa Thomas. “We’re extremely proud of the fact that nearly 60%* of the small businesses on Groupon are owned by women, and we’re committed to ensuring these merchants come out of the pandemic stronger than ever.”

Increasing Awareness and Support for Women-Owned Businesses

According to the survey results, women small business owners have a clear plan and path to drive revenue and accelerate their recovery from the pandemic. The top ways that women-owned businesses are looking to increase profits are the following: growing their social media presence, leveraging sales, expanding inventory, taking advantage of government or small business organization loans and resources and running paid advertising campaigns.

Even before the start of the pandemic, many states invested heavily in education and financial programs to help foster the development and success of small businesses. After the pandemic hit, many states stepped up to help the businesses impacted by movement restrictions in the form of deferring sales tax payments and increasing financial support through state grants.

Groupon asked women small business owners to score their state based on three criteria: how easy it is for women to start their own businesses, support offered to women of color to start their own business and resources provided to help women-owned businesses recover from the pandemic. Based on the survey results, some states consistently showed up as going above and beyond for women entrepreneurs:

  • New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Florida and Ohio were the top states for women looking to start their own business.
  • New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Ohio and California were identified as the top states for minority women to state a business.
  • New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Florida and Colorado were the top states when it came to helping women-owned businesses recover from the devastating impact of COVID-19.

Taking Action

Groupon is urging consumers to celebrate National Women’s Small Business Month by supporting women-owned businesses in their local communities as well as by making a donation to help provide new women entrepreneurs with much needed capital. To find a women-owned business that you can support in your community, please visit gr.pn/wsbm.

*June 2021 Merchant Satisfaction Survey. Survey of active merchants conducted June 8-23

About Groupon

Groupon (NASDAQ: GRPN) is an experiences marketplace where consumers discover fun things to do and local businesses thrive. For our customers, this means giving them an amazing selection of experiences at great values. For our merchants, this means making it easy for them to partner with Groupon and reach millions of consumers around the world.

Contacts

Groupon

Nick Halliwell

nhalliwell@groupon.com

Allison & Partners

Lexi Holden

groupon@allisonpr.com

For more media assets please visit here.

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Volt and CEO Linda Perneau Win 2021 Stevie Awards for Women in Business

ORANGE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Volt Information Sciences, Inc. (“Volt” or the “Company”) (NYSE-AMERICAN: VOLT), a global provider of staffing services, today announced that it has been awarded two Silver Stevie® Awards. The Company won Women-Run Workplace of the Year and Linda Perneau, President and CEO, won Female Executive of the Year – Business Services, in the 18th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business 2021.

The Stevie Awards for Women in Business honor women executives, entrepreneurs, employees, and the companies they run – worldwide. The Stevie Awards have been hailed as the world’s premier business awards. For more information, visit https://stevieawards.com/Women.

“On behalf of Volt, I am delighted to be recognized by The Stevie Awards for our laudable efforts over the past year,” said Ms. Perneau. Having overcome extraordinary challenges in 2020, we are proud of our continued positive results and sustained growth through 2021. Being named to these awards in two categories acknowledges not only my own commitment to positive momentum but the tireless efforts of every Volt employee who delivers excellent service to our clients and candidates every day, all of whom are deserving of equal opportunity for advancement in the workplace.”

About Volt Information Sciences, Inc.

Volt Information Sciences, Inc. is a global provider of staffing services (traditional time and materials-based as well as project-based). Our staffing services consist of workforce solutions that include providing contingent workers, personnel recruitment services, and managed staffing services programs supporting primarily administrative, technical, information technology, light-industrial and engineering positions. Our managed staffing programs involve managing the procurement and on-boarding of contingent workers from multiple providers. Volt services global industries including aerospace, automotive, banking and finance, consumer electronics, information technology, insurance, life sciences, manufacturing, media and entertainment, pharmaceutical, software, telecommunications, transportation, and utilities. For more information, visit www.volt.com.

Contacts

Investor Relations Contact:
Volt Information Sciences, Inc.

voltinvest@volt.com
Joe Noyons

Three Part Advisors

jnoyons@threepa.com
817-778-8424

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Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator Celebrates Second Anniversary by Announcing Impactful Initiatives to Drive Change for Women Entrepreneurs

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator (WEA), a strategic multi-partnership initiative established by five UN agencies and Mary Kay Inc., is today celebrating its second-year anniversary by announcing progress on several programmes designed to impact 5 million women around the world by 2030. The programmes and knowledge products, which further demonstrate WEA’s commitment to maximizing the development impact of women’s entrepreneurship in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), will be rolled out in the fourth quarter of this year.

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“Two years ago, the Accelerator committed to enabling women entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses as a means to accelerate progress towards women’s equality,” said Deborah Gibbins, Chief Operating Officer of Mary Kay Inc. “Today, we’re thrilled to report progress on that promise and demonstrate the unique impact five UN agencies and the private sector can have when working together. These programs represent concrete steps toward the systemic transformation needed to foster an environment of growth, sustainability, and resilience for women entrepreneurs.”

The strategic programmes, all shaped with a unique focus on gender, are the joint outcome of the collaboration between the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Trade Centre (ITC) UN Global Compact (UNGC), UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Women with the strategic support and funding of Mary Kay.

  • Digital Capacity Building Tools & Training

In collaboration with ITC SheTrades, the Accelerator will offer a guided curriculum supplemented by on-the-ground training for women from developing countries interested in entrepreneurship and/or planning to integrate into regional and global value chains. The 2021 in-country training sessions will take place virtually in Brazil, Colombia, India, and Mexico.

The online curriculum on Entrepreneurship aims to teach women entrepreneurs the skills to design and set up businesses that have potential to be economically viable. Through 27 interactive modules covering seven key stages of business development and enriched with over 200 videos, participants will learn how to adopt an entrepreneurship culture, develop ideas through design thinking and lean start-up methodologies, prepare a business model canvas, design a pitch, identify sources of funding, find the right partners, arrange for mentorship, build a team, and set up their businesses.

The curriculum is free for all users with no barrier to entry, and participants will receive a certificate upon completion.

The Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator ITC SheTrades curriculum will be gradually released between October and December 2021 in English, Spanish, and French, with Arabic, Russian and Mandarin coming in 2022. It will be accessible on the Accelerator website and directly on the ITC SheTrades virtual learning space and mobile app starting October 2021.

  • Entrepreneurship Research

As part of WEA’s objectives for 2020-2021, the ILO is focusing on strengthening advocacy for women’s entrepreneurship development in Mexico and Brazil. In Mexico, WEA and ILO will be releasing findings from an assessment on framework conditions that impact women’s entrepreneurship development.

The study is sector specific to trade and industry in Mexico City and touches upon the impact of COVID-19. The assessment includes a series of actionable recommendations for a more conducive environment, developed in close collaboration with national partners, including employers’ associations, chambers of commerce and associations of women entrepreneurs to ensure national ownership and sustainability.

In Brazil, through WEA, ILO is collaborating with SENAI, a national leader in technical and vocational training, to advocate for women’s entrepreneurship development and foster dialogue based on the findings of a WED Assessment conducted in the framework of the EU-funded Win-Win project. A programme of national and regional conferences, seminars, trainings, and communication campaigns has been put together to generate and consolidate momentum in favor of women’s entrepreneurship development.

  • Gender-Responsive Procurement (GRP) Advocacy and Training

Gender-responsive procurement (GRP) can have a transformational impact on domestic and international economies and contribute to women’s economic empowerment. Globally, one in three small, medium, and large businesses are owned by women1, yet women win only 1% of the procurement spend of large corporations and governments2.

The Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator participated in the Generation Equality Forum in Paris (June 30-July 2) through the “Drivers of Change” Programming, hosting a panel titled “Building a Transformative Strategy for Gender-Responsive Procurement,” which aimed to create awareness around the complex and interconnected barriers of women’s entrepreneurship and to promote GRP.

UN Women’s main contributions to the Accelerator’s GRP line of work in 2021 include establishing the Business Case for GRP through the launch of a community of practice (CoP) in July in collaboration with UN Global Compact to engage stakeholders from the private sector.

UN Women, with the support of the UN Global Compact, is also conducting a global survey across sectors on GRP. UN Women is then interviewing more than 50 companies and organizations, which, together with the survey responses, will result in case studies and an evidence-based advocacy tool to highlight the business case of GRP. The advocacy tool will be published by December 2021, and will be a contribution to WEA in support of UN Women’s Flagship Programme Initiative “Stimulating Equal Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs.”

In December, UN Women Europe and Central Asia (ECA) will launch an inaugural Pilot programme to increase the capacities of both women entrepreneurs and private sector with an aim to boost women’s entrepreneurship: (1) Building procurement capacities of women entrepreneurs to compete for bidding opportunities with public and private sectors; (2) Strengthening capacities of the private sector entities from all the sectors to establish policies and practices and design initiatives on gender responsive procurement and investment.

The Accelerator’s announcement of these programmes’ milestones is just the latest in a series of steps taken by the multi-partnership to raise awareness on entrepreneurship as a critical lever to advance women’s equality in 2021 and beyond.

At the Generation Equality Forum in Paris, the Accelerator announced its commitment to empower 5 million women by the end of 2030 and to build an ecosystem for women’s economic empowerment that fosters growth, sustainability, and resilience for women entrepreneurs.

On September 28th, the Accelerator will hold a virtual event titled “Joining Forces to Drive Change,” convening the senior management of ILO, ITC, UNDP, UNGC, and UN Women with introductory remarks from Mary Kay. Organized during UNGA 76 for WEA’s 2nd anniversary, the high-level event will provide an opportunity for the stakeholders within the women’s entrepreneurship ecosystem to hear from the leading experts on the following topics: gender equality and women’s empowerment, the economic and social contributions of women entrepreneurship; emerging policies and practices that could be applied and replicated globally to support women’s leadership in businesses. For registration and other enquiries click here.

To learn more about the Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator, and the work performed since its inception two years ago, visit we-accelerate.com.

About the Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator

The Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator (WEA) is a multi-partnership initiative on women’s entrepreneurship established during UNGA 74 by five UN agencies, International Labour Organization (ILO), International Trade Centre (ITC), UN Global Compact (UNGC), UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Women and Mary Kay Inc. to empower 5 million women entrepreneurs by 2030.

The ultimate goal of the initiative is to maximize the development impact of women entrepreneurship in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by creating an enabling ecosystem for women entrepreneurs around the world. The Accelerator exemplifies the transformational power of a multi-partnership of unique magnitude to harness the potential of women entrepreneurs.

Learn more at we-accelerate. Follow us: Twitter (We_Accelerator), Instagram (@we_accelerator), Facebook (@womensentrepreneurshipaccelerator), LinkedIn (@womensentrepreneurshipaccelerator)

About the International Labour Organization

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a specialized UN agency created in 1919, in the wake of a destructive war, to pursue a vision based on the premise that universal, lasting peace can be established only if it is based on social justice. The main aims of the ILO are to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue on work-related issues. The unique tripartite structure of the ILO gives an equal voice to workers, employers, and governments to ensure that the views of the social partners are closely reflected in labour standards and in shaping policies and programmes.

The ILO’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Development programme (ILO-WED) is part of the Small and Medium Enterprises Unit (SME) and has been running for close to two decades. ILO-WED works on enhancing economic opportunities for women by carrying out affirmative actions in support of women starting, formalizing and growing their enterprises, and by mainstreaming gender equality issues into the ILO’s work in enterprise development. Website: www.ilo.org | Twitter – @ILOWED | Facebook – ILO WED (@International Labour Organization)

About the International Trade Centre

The International Trade Centre (ITC) is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets to contribute to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

ITC’s SheTrades Initiative aims to connect three million women entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses to international markets by 2021. SheTrades works with governments, corporations and business support organizations to undertake research, shape enabling trade policies and regulations, facilitate financing, and expand access to public tenders and corporate supply chains. It provides women entrepreneurs with a varied learning environment and flexible curriculum on its www.shetrades.com platform. For more information, visit www.intracen.org and follow ITC on Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram | Flickr

About the United Nations Global Compact

As a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General, the United Nations Global Compact is a call to companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with ten universal principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption. Launched in 2000, the mandate of the UN Global Compact is to guide and support the global business community in advancing UN goals and values through responsible corporate practices. With more than 10,000 companies and 3,000 non-business signatories based in over 160 countries, and more than 60 Local Networks, it is the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world.

For more information, follow @globalcompact on social media and visit our website at unglobalcompact.org.

About UN Women

UN Women is the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide.

UN Women supports UN Member States as they set global standards for achieving gender equality, and works with governments and civil society to design laws, policies, programmes and services needed to ensure that the standards are effectively implemented and truly benefit women and girls worldwide. It works globally to make the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals a reality for women and girls and stands behind women’s equal participation in all aspects of life, focusing on four strategic priorities: Women lead, participate in and benefit equally from governance systems; Women have income security, decent work and economic autonomy; All women and girls live a life free from all forms of violence; Women and girls contribute to and have greater influence in building sustainable peace and resilience, and benefit equally from the prevention of natural disasters and conflicts and humanitarian action. UN Women also coordinates and promotes the UN system’s work in advancing gender equality.

About Mary Kay

One of the original glass ceiling breakers, Mary Kay Ash founded her beauty company more than 58 years ago with three goals: develop rewarding opportunities for women, offer irresistible products, and make the world a better place. That dream has blossomed into a multibillion-dollar company with millions of independent sales force members in nearly 40 countries. Mary Kay is dedicated to investing in the science behind beauty and manufacturing cutting-edge skin care, color cosmetics, nutritional supplements, and fragrances. Mary Kay is committed to empowering women and their families by partnering with organizations from around the world, focusing on supporting cancer research, protecting survivors from domestic abuse, beautifying our communities, and encouraging children to follow their dreams. Mary Kay Ash’s original vision continues to shine—one lipstick at a time. Learn more at marykayglobal.com

1 World Bank (2020). Enterprise Surveys, World Bank Gender Data Portal cited by World Bank Blogs (2020) Women entrepreneurs needed – stat!
2 Vazquez and Sherman (2014). Cited by UN Women (2017) The Power of Procurement: How to source from women-owned businesses.

Contacts

Mary Kay Inc. Corporate Communications

marykay.com/newsroom
(+1) 972.687.5332 or  media@mkcorp.com

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Thumbtack Releases 10th Annual Small Business Friendliness Survey

Maine, New Hampshire, and South Carolina receive “A+” rating on their support of local businesses

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, Thumbtack, the modern home management platform, announced results from its 2021 Small Business Friendliness Survey. More than 3,600 small business owners in the home maintenance and construction industries (42 percent) as well as events, lessons, and business services, evaluated federal, state, and local governments. In its tenth year, 44 cities and 43 states received grades from “A+” to “F” on overall small business friendliness, regulations, taxes, and training opportunities.

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“The way local professionals have adapted during the pandemic through adoption of digital tools and new safety protocols shows the strength and resilience of service businesses across the country,” said Andrew Heritage, Lead Economist at Thumbtack. “We’re seeing increased optimism among business owners compared to pre-pandemic levels, but want to acknowledge the near future remains uncertain due to new variants.”

State, federal and city rankings

Maine received the highest state ranking with an “A+” followed by New Hampshire “A+,” South Carolina “A+,” Florida “A,” and Georgia “A-.” While Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Oregon, and Michigan received the lowest scores with an “F.” In comparison, service providers gave the federal government a neutral score with a “C+.”

On a city level, the top scoring cities on the small business friendliness scale were Jacksonville, FL “A+,” Salt Lake City, UT “A+,” Orlando, FL “A,” Baltimore, MD “A,” and Seattle, WA “A-.” The lowest scoring cities were Detroit, MI, San Diego, CA, Nashville, TN, and Kansas City, MO, all receiving an “F.”

In addition to overall grades, Thumbtack also ranked states on their support of women-owned and BIPOC-owned businesses. Maryland came in first place with an “A+” as the most supportive state for women-owned businesses and Virginia ranked as the most supportive state for BIPOC owned businesses with an “A+.”

Economic opportunities and challenges

Nationwide, 87 percent of service providers, including women and BIPOC business owners, believe there’s enough economic opportunity in their community for their business to thrive. Up 11 percentage points from 2019, this finding shows increased optimism compared to pre-pandemic levels. And while 41 percent of respondents report generating more revenue in the first half of 2021 than the year prior, challenges remain. Across the board, the costs of operating a business are the biggest roadblock: 33 percent want policymakers to improve access to healthcare/insurance benefits and 45 percent want their tax burden lowered. Additionally, this year, the shortage of qualified labor intensified: 23 percent of businesses reported difficulty hiring with home construction reporting the most difficulty (40 percent).

Communities rally around small businesses

To capture how Americans are supporting their communities, Thumbtack commissioned an additional new Small Business Support survey of 1,150 Americans. Looking to the future, service businesses aren’t the only ones feeling more optimistic, 94 percent of homeowners said they’re comfortable having a professional work inside their home. Additionally, communities around the country rallied to support their local businesses over the last year. Americans gave larger tips (75 percent), made donations (36 percent) and continued paying providers even if they were not receiving services (22 percent).

For complete results, please visit our interactive survey visualization: https://www.thumbtack.com/survey or check out our blog.

2021 Small Business Friendliness Survey Methodology

In a survey of Thumbtack professionals, 3,648 responses were collected nationwide from 6/7/2021 to 7/26/2021 with a margin of error of +/- 2 percent. A sufficient sample size was collected to grade 43 states and 44 metropolitan areas. The eight graded metrics evaluate: overall government support, ease of starting a business, ease of hiring employees, labor regulation, tax regulation, licensing regulation, and training and networking programs availability and helpfulness. Thumbtack’s Small Business Friendliness Survey represents the largest continuous study in the U.S. of small business perceptions in the local services industry on government policy.

About Thumbtack

Thumbtack is a technology leader building the modern home management platform. Through the Thumbtack app, homeowners can effortlessly manage their homes — confidently knowing what to do, when to do it, and who to hire. Bringing the $500 billion home services industry online, Thumbtack empowers millions of homeowners to fix, maintain, and improve their most valuable asset. Hundreds of thousands of local service professionals, from painters and plumbers to photographers and math tutors, use the Thumbtack platform to grow their business each year.

Contacts

Mally Fox

press@thumbtack.com