How technology is redefining women-owned SMEs and businesses

Undoubtedly, SMEs and small-scale industries continue to play a vital role in boosting socio-economic growth and more women are at the forefront of it. In Ghana and the rest of Africa, there is a growing number of women who have become critical drivers in accelerating sustainable socio-economic development.

Over the years, women have been the backbone of the Ghanaian economy; contributing significantly to economic growth and development. The World Bank estimates that 44 per cent of MSMEs in Ghana are women-owned. In 2020, the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE) ranked Ghana (36.5percent) among the world’s three leading economies with most women-owned businesses with Uganda (39.6percent) and Botswana (38.5percent).

Technology and digitization can go a long way to empower women economically, politically and socially towards the attainment of SDG 5 on gender equality and women empowerment. Over the past few years, digital technologies and innovation have played an integral role in boosting entrepreneurship while creating new and innovative pathways for entrepreneurial empowerment for women.

In doing so, we need to equip more women with the requisite tools and resources to navigate their businesses in a fast-paced digital world. Post COVID, investing in innovative business enterprises are critical to spurring economic recovery. Most importantly, increasing digital literacy among women in Africa will go a long way to harness their digital skills and bring more opportunities for them.

Digital acceleration presents unique opportunities for Ghana’s burgeoning women entrepreneurs helping them scale their businesses, provide unlimited access to information, innovative business ideas, funding and employment opportunities. Through my work, I have had the opportunity to interact and engage several women entrepreneurs whose businesses have been transformed by digitization and innovation.

In Ghana, the introduction of value-added banking and financial services and digital solutions tailored for women has helped many women grow their brands and businesses significantly and sustainably. Several women have been able to gain access to funding opportunities which they previously had limited access to.

Immense opportunities continue to emerge in the global digital economy and it is important that women leverage relevant digital tools and platforms such as e-commerce to help them thrive and grow their micro, small and medium sized entrepreneurial businesses.

We cannot underemphasize the essential role technology and innovation has to play in bridging the digital divide and achieving a gender inclusive society can be realized if we invest in digital literacy interventions, targeted investment programmes among others.

>>> Ramat Ebella Whajah is a Banking Executive with over a decade experience in Business Advisory, Sales, Customer Service, Branch Operations among others.  She is the Founder of Girls with Purpose Foundation, a not-for-profit community passionate about mentoring young girls and the youth to find their purpose, standout and succeed. Connect with Ramat via LinkedIn: Ramat Ebella Whajah , Email: rammy_48@yahoo.com  

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