#ChooseWOMEN benefits women in business and the global quest to reduce poverty
By Lorie Steiner
It’s official! Shopping is now a philanthropic activity…
With the launch of an exciting new online fashion marketplace – ChooseWomen.org – consumers can shop from over 70 top retailers including, Bobbi Brown, Spanx, Lilly Pulitzer, Coach, ASOS, Cynthia Rowley, Lulus, The Limited and Folica, while helping reduce poverty around the world. Initiated by the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day movement (WED), a percentage of every sale generated through ChooseWomen.org will fund essential microloans for impoverished women around the world to start their own businesses.
“Launching ChooseWomen.org along with #ChooseWOMEN Wednesday gives us another platform to continue our mission of investing in women’s futures by empowering them financially,” said Wendy Diamond, founder of WED. “In the spirit of Small Business Saturday and Giving Tuesday, we have dedicated the Wednesday after Thanksgiving as the day to support women in business. There are no extra charges and no hidden fees when shopping through ChooseWomen.org. You shop, she thrives! We are thrilled with the amazing retail partners that have joined us this first year to support women in business.”
The foremost economic problem plaguing women worldwide is the fact that they are underfunded. Diamond believes that needs to change, “When women are presented the opportunity to excel and start their own businesses, they are responsible and entrepreneurial! Women fully pay back their loans 97% of the time and on time! When women are empowered in business, they arrive at a place of dignity and self-confidence, and will advocate actively to fight global injustice and human rights violations.”
Retailers that join ChooseWomen.org donate a percentage of their revenues in support of organizations that provide microloans to impoverished women to help them become entrepreneurs. By recruiting even more companies to take part, ChooseWomen.org hopes to become the largest directory of women-owned and women-led businesses on a mission to alleviate poverty. “Utilizing our online global database, together we can harness massive purchasing power in the name of supporting more women in business. This platform is also an international social media campaign – using the hashtag #ChooseWOMEN we invite buyers to support women-owned businesses and causes worldwide.”
3rd Annual Global Women’s Entrepreneurship Day
WED ignites women leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs to initiate startups, drive economic expansion, and advance communities worldwide. To kick off the inaugural celebration of #ChooseWOMEN Wednesday, WED hosted its third annual event at the United Nations in New York City on Friday, November 18th. This year’s event was celebrated in 144 countries, and at 111 top universities and colleges internationally. The goal being to inspire four billion women across the globe to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams, while uplifting the 250 million girls worldwide who live in poverty. A high point of the festivities came when Wendy Diamond and the WED team rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange. In Diamond’s words, “I think of its tolling as a celebration of women worldwide.”
Notable influencers delighted attendees with their insight, as they took part in panels throughout the day. With over 400 hundred women and men gathered together, the WED event was a powerful occasion to make life-changing connections, celebrate women in business, and learn from the greatest, brightest and most kind-hearted minds. From discussions about the importance of diversity in the corporate sector from HP’s Chief Marketing Officer Antonio Lucio and HSN, Inc.’s CEO Mindy Grossman, to advice from USA Network founder (and first woman to serve as network president in television history) Kay Koplovitz, who has invested over seven billion dollars in women-owned businesses, the atmosphere was charged with positive energy… all in the name of empowering women everywhere.
The Lowdown on Microloans
“Women pay back microloans at a 97% rate of return, and 90% of the money earned by these women is used to educate their children and provide for their families.”
A recent Kauffman Foundation report found that women make up 40.6 percent of new entrepreneurs; the highest level in two decades. They are also more likely to start businesses to capitalize on an opportunity, rather than from necessity, but the hurdles are many and large. Access to capital is a major challenge. Most women-owned businesses are underfunded, and loans tend to have a higher interest rate than for men.
WED is positioned to play a decisive role in changing this dynamic and enabling more women to break new ground and spur economic growth in the marketplace. By uniting around common principles, WED celebrates the unwavering positives women bring to the global economy, empowering and supporting future generations of business leaders – all of which drives successful and confident women.
That’s why microloans specifically for women entrepreneurs can be life-changers. A WED spokesperson explained, “a microloan is a very small, short-term loan at low interest, most commonly used to help a start-up company or self-employed person. WED is honored to support leading microfinance organizations around the world that provide impoverished women with these essential microloans to start their own businesses. This kind of return is life changing for entire communities. When you shop on ChooseWomen.org, each purchase made will contribute a percentage of the sale to these organizations to help fund microloans that support and empower women across the globe.”