Our Work

Our 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.

© ILO /Crozet M.

Bridging the Digital Gender Divide

Digital Capacity Building Tools & Training

In collaboration with ITC SheTrades, the Accelerator offers a guided curriculum supplemented by on-the-ground training.

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.

  • Deciding to Become an Entrepreneur

  • Developing the Idea – Business Ideation

  • Business Modeling

  • Pitching the Business

  • Funding the Venture

  • Building up the Team

  • Setting up the Business

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 available between October and December 2021 in English, Spanish, and French, with Arabic, Russian and Mandarin coming in 2022.

SheTrades (ITC)

The International Trade Centre (ITC)’s SheTrades initiative aims to connect 3 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.

SheTrades provides women entrepreneurs with a varied learning environment and flexible curriculum through shetrades.com. This includes free online courses, participation in face-to-face workshops, engagement through live webinars on a range of topics and a greater understanding of their markets.

WeLearn (UN Women)

WeLearn offers access to skills development courses customized to the student. Self-paced courses draw on the latest global know-how and technology in youth and adult learning. The initiative is an extension of UN Women’s focus on women’s economic empowerment, and will aggregate online content on one platform.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP RESEARCH

It is critical to strengthen advocacy for Women’s Entrepreneurship Development (WED).

In Mexico, the Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator 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 the Accelerator, 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 women , yet women win only 1% of the procurement spend of large corporations and governments .

The Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator is focused on doing concrete work and advocating for the building of transformative strategies to advance gender-responsive procurement (GRP) within both private and public sectors. Our aim is to create awareness around the complex and interconnected barriers of women’s entrepreneurship and to promote GRP practices globally.

Establishing the Business Case for GRP globally

In support of the Accelerator, UN Women has been working towards 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 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 a contribution to the Accelerator in support of UN Women’s Flagship Programme Initiative “Stimulating Equal Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs.”

Building procurement capabilities for women entrepreneurs and the private sector in region

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.