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About Women in Digital Business

Women in Digital business was established by the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization (ITCILO) and Microsoft Philanthropies to bridge the digital divide for women entrepreneurs in the developing world. WIDB works to provide women entrepreneurs with training and coaching opportunities to build their digital skills and leverage them to grow their business.

Women Entrepreneurs and Digital Skills

Around the world, one in five women have the intention to start a business – and many are successful entrepreneurs.

Although many women run successful enterprises, persistent gendered inequalities create major disparities in opportunities to start and grow a business.

In fact, women are less likely to own a business than men and, when they do, they tend to have smaller, less formal, and less profitable enterprises.

With the rise of the digital economy, women have new opportunities to start and grow a business, but still face many challenges. In low- income countries especially, female small business owners lack the competencies to develop a digital transformation strategy and implement it. They need support services that help them to compare options, make the appropriate choices, align investments, implement their digitalization strategy, train workers and ensure durability.

In this context, equipping women entrepreneurs with digital skills is essential to the growth of their business

The Women in Digital Business Initiative

We realized that there are very few digital skills programmes for women entrepreneurs in the developing world.

On the one hand, you can find many training courses on digital business skills on commercial platforms: these are usually for people from higher middle and high-income countries, with a certain level of education and digital literacy.

On the other, management programmes for women entrepreneurs in developing countries rarely focus on digitalization and. Even when they do, they struggle to reach the scale of commercial programmes and do not offer a common methodology.

The ITCILO and Microsoft have decided to take on this challenge: Women in Digital Business offers training programmes in digital skills to women entrepreneurs who are looking to digitalize their business. WIDB uses a Training of Trainers approach: we train partners all over the world in using our platform and methodologies, so that they can, in turn, offer WIDB training to women entrepreneurs. This allows us to expand our reach to even the most remote communities.

Learn More about our Training Programmes

Who is it for

Women in Digital Business is available for business management trainers and women entrepreneurs.

Trainers

Our success depends on the strength of the trainers who join our network.

That is why we are looking for Lead Trainers who want to get involved, and deliver WIDB’s training programmes to women entrepreneurs. Our Lead Trainers should:

  • Have a minimum of 5 years of professional experience in the field of micro and small enterprise development;
  • Be able to prove their experience in delivering business training and coaching to women entrepreneurs;
  • Be experienced in adult education and participatory training methods;
  • Have a strong interest to provide training on digitalization to small entrepreneurs
  • Have advanced digital literacy
  • Be proficient in English, Spanish or French
  • Be willing to train at least 5 other trainers and 30 women entrepreneurs.

To join the network, Lead Trainers have to complete a competitive selection process, and participate in a 2-day online training of Lead Trainers.

Interested? Look out for our Calls for Lead Trainers or learn more about our training programmes

View Opportunities

Women Entrepreneurs

We designed WIDB for women entrepreneurs who:

  • Own or manage a formally or informally established enterprise with 0 to 20 employees
  • Have been in business for more than 6 months
  • Want to enhance the use of digital tools in their business
  • Can dedicate at least 25 hours to training
  • Can read and write in the language of training and make basic calculations
  • Have access to a computer, tablet or smartphone

Interested? Find a WIDB-certified trainer in your area or learn more about our training programmes

View Opportunities

Countries

Women in Digital Business is a global initiative: the core programme is offered in English, French, and Spanish, and we encourage Lead Trainers to localize the contents to their local languages.

As of today, these countries have joined the WIDB network:

countries

Results

We are currently in the design phase of Women in Digital Business – as we move into implementation, we will post here some of our results.

Partners

Women in digital business is an initiative by the International Training Centre of the ILO and Microsoft Philanthropies.

About the International Training Centre of the ILO (ITCILO)

The ITCILO is a leading global provider of learning and training based in Turin, Italy.  As part of the International Labour Organization, it is dedicated to achieving decent work while exploring the frontiers of the future of work. For Women in Digital Business, ITCILO is partnering with the Women’s Entrepreneurship Development Programme of the International Labour Organization (ILO-WED). Since 2008 ILO-WED seeks to redress existing gender imbalances in enterprise development by working with partners to ensure enterprise initiatives consider gender dynamics and inequalities in their formulation and roll-out. The programme has supported, over the years, the development and roll-out of a series of tested training tools, global trainer networks, and learnings on what works in enterprise development for women entrepreneurs.

To learn more about the ITCILO, visit itcilo.org

For more information about ILO-WED, go to ilo.org/wed

About Microsoft Philanthropies

Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Microsoft is working with international and development organizations and non-profits to ensure people have the skills, knowledge, and opportunity they need to succeed in the digital economy. This is done through initiatives that provide inclusive, equitable access to skills, certifications and credentials required for in-demand technical and tech-enabled jobs creating pathways to employment and livelihood opportunities.