Targeted support for women micro-entrepreneurs and building a stronger information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure are needed as they venture into e-commerce, according to a study conducted by the public policy think tank and research arm of the Asian Institute of Management (AIM).
Regina Yvette Romero, research associate at AIM Rizalino S. Navarro Policy Center for Competitiveness, said government assistance should “go beyond” merely granting access to resources to help develop businesses of women micro-entrepreneurs.
“…Having a better grasp of factors affecting their making-do attitude is essential in creating support measures for female entrepreneurs in relation to what resources they want to access,” Romero said in a virtual forum as she presented the results of their study exploring the engagement of women micro-entrepreneurs in e-commerce.
She said that recognizing the importance of bricolage behavior, active support to women who are in this stage is important, especially in terms of assisting in upscaling their enterprises particularly in progressing to formal approach.
Entrepreneurial bricolage behavior pertains to acquiring information from immediate social networks like family and friends, obtaining information through social media platforms, and gaining knowledge from previous work experience.
It also involves having their family members and friends help manage e-commerce operations.
“A few only used their savings, husband’s salaries, or family member’s money as their startup capital,” she added.
Moreover, Romero underscored the importance of upscaling and support to have safe spaces online.
“It is also important to strike the right balance in regulating micro-enterprises particularly when it comes to (paying) taxes and securing business permits, as they may hinder in starting or continuing their enterprises,” she said.
Romero said it is also imperative to develop the country’s ICT infrastructure as this could positively affect the e-commerce operations of these women micro-entrepreneurs.
“Filipino women entrepreneurs have a huge potential to thrive in the digital economy. And with targeted policies and continuous support, they will further realize their entrepreneurial and personal success,” she added.
Meanwhile, these policy recommendations were based on the results of the study by the AIM Rizalino S. Navarro Policy Center for Competitiveness after it conducted in-depth online interviews with 17 women micro entrepreneurs around November to December 2022 via Zoom teleconferencing.
Respondents of the study are engaged in wholesale and retail trade, selling ready-to-eat food items and engaged in the service industry.
Their perceived benefits in using e-commerce are expanding their customer base, promoting their products faster and more conveniently, transacting with their customers and suppliers more efficiently, saving operational costs, and having a flexible schedule.