Enhancing Business Competitiveness of Woman Entrepreneurs Discussed at WLN Meeting

The second day of the 11th APEC Women Leader's Network (WLN) meeting continued in Ha Noi with two plenary sessions focusing on the future direction of the WLN and on enhancing the competitiveness of businesses operated by women.

Delegates also attended a seminar hosted by the Confederation of Women's Business Councils.

The meeting of more than 400 businesspeople, academics and government officials is an annual event o­n the APEC calendar that seeks to improve the environment for women to contribute to economic growth in the Asia-Pacific.

In the first plenary session entitled "WLN the Second Decade: Where do we go from here?" delegates assessed the role of the WLN as a forum for enhancing the environment for women in the region.

Delegates discussed issues of relevance to women in the global economy such as education, accessing new technologies and increasing access to trade opportunities for women operated enterprises.

In this meeting a number of delegates called for consideration of a third Ministerial Meeting o­n Women to be scheduled in the near future. Two other Ministerial Meetings o­n Women have been held in the past with the first being in the Philippines in 1998 followed by Mexico in 2002. A common sentiment expressed by WLN delegates was that the growth of the knowledge based economy and the new challenges this poses for women should be addressed in a high level forum such as a ministerial meeting.

There was agreement among members that while there were a number of opportunities for women to provide input to future policy direction in the APEC Region, the WLN provided a unique opportunity to have the voice of women heard. The WLN has direct access to leaders as well as their respect and recognition, and delegates said they looked forward to finalizing their recommendations form the 11th meeting that will now be presented to ministers and leaders.

In the second plenary session for the day entitled "Towards a Dynamic Community - Enhancing the Competitiveness of Women Business for Sustainable Development and Prosperity," delegates discussed opportunities for women in the new economy.

The issue of access to ICT was discussed further and it was argued that this relates not o­nly to access to computers, but to the wide range of telecommunications products and processes that can empower women entrepreneurs.

Delegates discussed the entrepreneurial spirit of the region's women and the fact that a great deal of the region's current success can be attributed to women business people and the work of women described as the most important resource for ensuring prosperity in the region.

The Confederation of Women's Business Councils workshop convened during the course of events during the day under the theme of "Ways to Support the Establishment of Women Enterprises."

Speakers from Korea, Chinese Taipei, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and the United States of America shared their vision for strengthening entrepreneurship and received questions from the audience.

The discussion covered potential hurdles to participation in the formal sector such as approaches to banking and government assistance to assist in starting women operated businesses.


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For further information contact:

Christopher Hawkins o­n +84 (0)9 0223 7105, +61 433 810 844 or E-mail: ch@apec.org

Anita Douglas o­n +65 9172 6427 or E-mail: ad@apec.org

APEC Website