Women entrepreneurs in Asia encounter numerous hardships influenced by cultural norms and societal expectations, which can impede their business growth and success. Deeply ingrained gender biases and stereotypes perpetuate the perception that women are less capable in business, impacting their access to funding, resources, and business opportunities. Traditional gender roles and family responsibilities place additional burdens on women entrepreneurs, often requiring them to balance their business pursuits with household duties. Cultural norms may also limit their mobility and participation in certain business activities. Moreover, male-dominated industries and business networks in some Asian societies may restrict women’s access to markets and partnerships, making it challenging to break into these sectors. Cultural stereotypes that undermine women’s negotiation abilities further exacerbate the challenges they face in securing deals and contracts.

Addressing these hardships requires a multifaceted approach that acknowledges and challenges cultural norms, fosters gender equality, and provides tailored support to empower women entrepreneurs in Asia. Efforts to promote women’s entrepreneurship must navigate the intersection of cultural values with modern business practices, creating an inclusive environment that enables women to thrive and contribute to their countries’ and the region’s economic growth.

Training course was held for 32 participants from Cambodia, Mongolia and Vietnam from September 17th until September 19th in Nanning & Qinzhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China.

The participants took part in training and dialogue sessions which were designed for them to exchange their experiences as women in business, their entrepreneurship and their views on gender equality. Experts from Chinese e-marketing platforms also came together to introduce how foreign businesses should choose their e-commerce platforms for online sales of their products and which e-marketing platforms would best support them to brand their specific products in China.   The women entrepreneurs also paid their visit to the Qinzhou City Women Entrepreneurs Council and the local women-led businesses in the agricultural, sustainable energy and pottery sectors.

The training was jointly organised by the Beibu Gulf Economic Zone Planning and Management Office of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (BG Office) and GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The exchanges delved into a myriad of crucial topics such as dismantling gender stereotypes in job markets, the integral role of men in women’s empowerment, and the symbiosis between women’s empowerment and gender equality for the benefit of all. Discussions also embraced the pivotal role of academic cooperation in supporting women entrepreneurs. Emphasizing awareness as the cornerstone of transformative change, the programme culminated by intertwining the practical and conceptual aspects of gender equality. It merged in-depth exploration of women’s roles in business with broader discussions on enhancing knowledge in the trade sector and the pragmatic application of gender equality principles.

The training was organised as a pilot for the GIZ Project – Fund for Triangular Cooperation with Asia(TrC), in which China and Germany jointly support sustainable development for partners in ASEAN and Mongolia. It is an upscaling of the women entrepreneurs training programmes the GIZ project Support of Regional Economic Cooperation in Asia and the BG Office previously organised in 2021 and 2022. This programme has extended in their concept design in incorporating both technical trainings on the skills of the women entrepreneurs as well as promoting women empowerment and allyship via TrC.