MasterCard has announced that female entrepreneurs are leading the way in digital presence in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) in its latest survey of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Mastercard MEA SME Confidence Index indicated that 81 percent of female entrepreneurs in the region have a digital presence for their business, compared to 68 percent of their male counterparts.
Amnah Ajmal, Executive Vice President, Market Development, Middle East and Africa, Mastercard, said in a statement Wednesday.
Ajmal said the latest research highlighted the strong digitization in women-owned companies as an opportunity for a broader recovery of SMEs and the growth of the digital economy.
“Despite the gender gap and social challenges, entrepreneurial women around the world and in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) are at the forefront of harnessing the power of the digital economy to succeed and grow.
“This reflects the huge potential that female SME entrepreneurs have as we accelerate their access to financial and digital tools, which will enable greater gender equality in the business ecosystem,”
“In terms of a digital footprint of female entrepreneurs in the region, social media (71%) leads the way, followed by a corporate website (57%).
“In new research from Mastercard, women-owned small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) believe there are huge benefits of a cashless economy for their businesses,” he said.
Ajmal said the Mastercard MEA SME Confidence Index revealed that more than 80 percent of female entrepreneurs are digitally ready for their business compared to their male counterparts, yet so few have access to finance for their business growth.
“Globally, women-owned companies are well represented in the entrepreneurship space, but they are estimated to only have access to between two percent and 10 percent of commercial bank financing,” he said.
He said Mastercard promotes social progress through financial literacy training to encourage the growth of entrepreneurship among women.
“Mastercard is making a global commitment to connect 25 million women entrepreneurs to the digital economy by 2025, as part of its goal to build a more sustainable and inclusive world.
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The Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth has awarded seed funding to The Omaness Skinfood Company, enabling 10,000 women entrepreneurs in Nigeria to run their own skin food trading businesses.
“Thanks to its partnership with Junior Achievement South Africa, Mastercard has enabled more than 3,000 women to gain entrepreneurial skills, start their own businesses and create new jobs,” he noted.