The University of Bedfordshire has joined forces with the Cherie Blair Foundation to support female business owners in South East Asia.
The project, funded by the foundation, saw the University’s Business and Management Research Institute (BMRI) work with partners in Indonesia, Myanmar and Vietnam to see how they can support women in these countries to grow businesses using mobile technology.
Dr Sandar Win, a senior lecturer in Banking and Finance from the BMRI, said: “We need to understand women’s roles in economic development in Indonesia, Myanmar and Vietnam because the informal economies in these countries play a significant role in development.
“When we talk about informal economy, we are referring to businesses that are not registered but the income generated from these contribute to family life and education of the children.”
Through the project it was revealed that most of the businesses that make up the informal economy are run and led by women.
Furthermore, researchers discovered that although most of these women do not have access to a bank account, they nearly always have access to a mobile phone. The project explored how mobile technologies could be used to support female business owners, many of whom face financial, social, and geographic obstacles.
Supporting women through mobile technologies and promoting financial inclusion were found to be key factors that need addressing.