Fri, Oct 13, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Yushan Forum: Female business leaders critical to growth: US official

Staff writer, with CNA

Firms led by women have immense potential, and in order to unlock the opportunities of an innovation-driven economy, nations need to ensure that their female entrepreneurs have access to capital and markets, a US official said in Taipei on Wednesday.

In a luncheon speech at the Yushan Forum, US Small Business Administration Office of Investment and Innovation Deputy Associate Administrator Michele Schimpp spoke about the importance of small businesses and highlighted women-led firms.

October is National Women’s Small Business Month in the US, Schimpp said, adding that people are celebrating the fact that women’s business ownership rates are up 27 percent and they are employing millions of workers.

However, like Taiwan, women-led firms in the US are largely single-employee operations, she said.

“To truly unlock the opportunities of an innovation-driven economy, we need to ensure that female entrepreneurs have access to capital, access to markets and support to grow their areas of expertise, business and jobs,” Schimpp said.

“The potential is immense,” she added, citing an estimate by the McKinsey Global Institute that said if women played the same role as men in labor markets, as much as US$28 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025.

Schimpp also stressed the importance of small businesses to an innovation-driven economy.

“I know our hosts from Taiwan and many of you in the room are motivated to create innovation-driven economies. To do this, small businesses are key,” she said.

She added that trade and regional cooperation are paths to vibrant small business growth.

Initiatives such as the US-Taiwan Global Cooperation and Training Framework have allowed experts, government officials and civil society leaders from nations in the Asia-Pacific region to attend workshops in Taiwan on topics such as public health, energy efficiency, women’s empowerment and e-commerce, Schimpp said.

Also speaking at the luncheon was Kazuo Aichi, former director-general of the then-Japanese Defense Agency, who said that Taiwan and Japan enjoy a deep bond and can cooperate in many fields, such as long-term care services, as well as environmental, social security, national security and medical issues.

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