Unlocking the potential of womenpreneurs in ASEAN

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International Women’s Day is a powerful reminder and acknowledgement of the achievements of women worldwide as we collectively strive towards a more equitable society. However, the commitment to equity shouldn’t fade with March – it should be a continuous effort by individuals and organisations to foster more outstanding support through tangible actions.

UOB FinLab recognises the benefits of gender diversity in organisations. Companies with greater gender diversity tend to outperform their less diverse counterparts as they offer a wider range of perspectives and experiences, leading to better decision-making and innovation.

Within our vast ecosystem spanning five countries in ASEAN, we have met many amazing female-led businesses and women entrepreneurs (Womenpreneurs) with innovative business propositions. One example is Eileen Toh, Founder of Genius Plus Academy. She was a previous participant of our Digital Mumpreneur Programme and leveraged the programme to gain a deeper, richer understanding of the inner workings of a business while meeting supportive, like-minded female entrepreneurs.

The unique challenges of Womenpreneurs in ASEAN

As more womenpreneurs rise up in ASEAN and build their businesses, we are aware that many face unique obstacles. From our conversations with womenpreneurs, one constant hurdle that limits business growth opportunities is the lack of professional networks.

Studies have indicated that womenpreneurs often face greater challenges in building robust professional networks and finding mentors – limiting their access to valuable support, knowledge, and opportunities for business growth.

Therefore, private and public sector firms must come together to create tangible solutions that can help womenpreneurs overcome hurdles and catalyse business growth. Unlocking the potential of women-owned businesses can subsequently open a vast pool of economic opportunities that benefit the overall economy.

Enabling Womenpreneurs to leverage the UOB FinLab network

UOB FinLab believes that accelerator programmes designed to spur business growth through collaboration are key to unlocking the potential of womenpreneurs. Such programmes can potentially address challenges faced by female leaders when it comes to the lack of access to professional networks.

Hence, we launched various programmes customised for womenpreneurs, including our Digital Mumpreneurs Programme in 2021 which catered for mothers juggling their business with taking care of their children, and our Jom Transform Programme – Womenpreneurs Edition in 2022 that was tailored to support female entrepreneurs spur business growth through digitalisation.

The programmes enabled womenpreneurs to leverage UOB FinLab’s extensive ecosystem of government agencies, mentors, industry leaders, solutions providers and other stakeholders to catalyse business growth and innovation through collaboration. Through exposure to our network, participants experienced the exchange of innovative ideas, best practices and the creation of genuine business partnerships.

Padmaja Sakthi, a participant of our Digital Mumpreneur Programme managed to learn about the implementation of technology solutions to scale business development efforts, meet prospects and industry peers, as well as learn about the best practices for her business.

What’s in store for 2024

UOB FinLab remains committed to supporting womenpreneurs unlock business growth through our ecosystem and programmes. This year, we are excited to launch our ‘Digitalisation Innovation Programme: Womenpreneur’, which will take place from 17 to 25 April 2024.

This year’s programme is curated to support entrepreneurs, specifically women, on their entrepreneurial and digitalisation journey within a like-minded community. It will consist of a 2-week series of workshops, which focuses on enhancing critical skills such as strategic planning, financial management, and digital adaptation.

The ultimate objective of this programme is to enable womenpreneurs in ASEAN to take their businesses to the next level through digitalisation and genuine business connections.

In the leadup to the programme launch, UOB FinLab organised a kick-off networking event titled Womenpreneurs Building Big with UOB, that was held in National Gallery, Singapore on 25 March 2024. The two-and-a-half-hour event united female business leaders and founders to connect and share their entrepreneurial experiences.

Online programme

Start Smart Programme

Designed for business owners to enhance their digital capabilities through practical learning, this programme takes businesses to the next level.

Online programme

Start Smart Programme

Designed for business owners to enhance their digital capabilities through practical learning, this programme takes businesses to the next level.

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