The International Trade Centre (ITC) unveiled a new web and mobile-phone application that will help women entrepreneurs from across the world to connect to markets.
The World Trade Organization’s 10th ministerial conference from 15th-18th December has opened new frontiers to Kenya and women entrepreneurs. The SheTrades App was launched by ITC Executive Director Arancha González and Ambassador Amina Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary of the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, at the International Forum on Women in Business, which took place in Nairobi, in conjunction with the World Trade Organization’s 10th Ministerial Conference.
The App is part of a wider ITC initiative to connect one million women entrepreneurs to markets by 2020. It provides buyers across the globe with a unique platform to connect with women-owned enterprises. Women entrepreneurs now have a tool to address many gender-specific barriers to trade. It brings together thousands of women-owned businesses to showcase their products in sectors ranging from agriculture to information technology.
Speaking at the launch, Arancha Gonzalez noted that the App was an innovative tool to facilitate efforts to connect one million women entrepreneurs to markets by 2020. “It facilitates new business opportunities and potential partnerships, and presents larger businesses with new sourcing possibilities,” she said. “SheTrades tech platform offers an opportunity for women entrepreneurs to leverage 21st century technology offered by mobile phones and the internet to reach out, find buyers, to internationalize and scale their businesses,” Ms González said.
SheTrades is developed by women entrepreneurs, for women entrepreneurs. It was developed by GreenBell Communications, a Kenyan based ICT firm, following the company’s first-place win at the 2015 Women Vendors Exhibition and Forum (WVEF) Tech Challenge.
The tech platform allows women-owned businesses to connect to local and international markets. It also enables them to share information about their companies, products and services, and connect with buyers. In addition, SheTrades enables buyers of products and services to filter and match themselves with companies and women entrepreneurs in the SheTrades database that meet sourcing requirements.
The technical expertise for designing and managing the contest was provided by Google. The tech contest selected SheTrades among more than 400 applications “Our mission is to make information universally accessible and useful and that is exactly what SheTrades does by connecting women-owned business and buyers”, said Juliana Dib Rezende, of the Google Tech Challenge team.