Nepali Women Entrepreneurs
Content by: South-South News
10 March 2017, New York, USA | South-South News — Women entrepreneurs in Nepal are helping each other succeed by sharing business practices which not only build security and provide for their families but also change long-held perceptions about gender and the role of women in society.
Sunita Shrestha is a successful businesswoman in the Nepali capital Kathmandu. Her small business creates felt handicrafts and employs over 30 people, all but two of whom are women. Despite being able to successfully start a business, Sunita always found it difficult to market her products.
The Federation of Women Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal (FWEAN) was able to give Sunita the skills she needed to take her business to the next level through a training program supported by the Japanese Government and the International Labor Organization (ILO). Sunita said she has been engaged with FWEAN for some three years now. She said, “I didn’t know how to run my factory, the management and everything, how to pull profit, how to put the costing, pricing. Everything of that I learned from their training.”
FWEAN has trained 350 women like Sunita across Nepal in business skills. FWEAN Secretary Darshana Shrestra runs a soap manufacturing business. She explained how the Federation has helped. “They have become part of FWEAN and they have grown their businesses. Some of them have got the entrepreneurship development fund from the Government that is provided to the women entrepreneurs,” she said.
A new ILO-Gallup survey of 150,000 men and women in over 140 countries shows that worldwide, the majority of women, some 70 percent, would prefer to be working and 66 percent of men wanted the same for the women in their families. The survey also showed that 30 percent of working women in Nepal were the main providers of income for their families and another 20 percent were significant providers of income.
“The success of women entrepreneurs goes beyond just creating their own businesses and providing jobs for others,” Susan Maybud, a Senior Gender Specialist at the ILO, “They gain confidence during the process. They learn how to compete. They engage with society and their communities, and they find their own voice.”
FWEAN organized exhibitions around Nepal, running a campaign to register new businesses and inspiring women to find out more about the opportunities available to them. The ILO said FWEAN not only gives Nepali entrepreneurs better business skills, it promotes the idea that women can run a successful business which changes women's attitudes about what they could achieve.