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The Australia Awards Women Trading Globally program funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade under the Aid for Trade budget was designed to assist women entrepreneurs from developing countries to undertake international or cross-border business. Commencing with a pilot program in 2017 for 15 women entrepreneurs from the Pacific, Women Trading Globally operated from 2018-20.

Across four cohorts, 57 women entrepreneurs from the South Pacific, South-East Asia and South Asia participated in Women Trading Globally. Participants were from small to medium sized businesses representing different industries and stages of development. All were intrepid, determined to overcome local obstacles and meet the challenges of doing international business.

Scroll Down to see what some of the Women Trading Globally participants had to say about the program.

The activities of the project consisted of four elements:

  • Training
  • Building of ecosystems
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Providing supplementary information
  • Topics covered in the training included:
  • How to set up and grow the business;
  • Marketing and branding, including sourcing buyers and suppliers;
  • Trade finance and letters of credit;
  • Customs declaration/documentation;
  • Tariff classification/rules of origin;
  • Laws and regulation; and

88 per cent grew their business, since their training in Australia. Most grew in the range of 21-60 per cent, while others grew even more. Growth, including through increased sales and vertical integration, has meant the need for increased finance.

77 per cent came out of the project with high levels of confidence, braving trade expos and pursuing customers. More than half (53 per cent) made major adjustments or pivoted altogether – applying a ‘lean start-up’ approach.

Covid-19 has put a brake on growth of many Women Trading Globally businesses. But many stayed viable by shifting their focus to the domestic market, including finding new customers. As a cohort, they supported peers that are struggling.

The future remains promising for the Women Trading Globally entrepreneurs. 72 per cent are looking for new ventures. They are positively impacting others, including by creating jobs, sharing knowledge and supporting other women-run businesses.

100 per cent of participants would recommend Women Trading Globally. Participants described the program as “life-changing”.

The Women Trading Globally brand, is growing. Previous participants have formed their own ‘clubs’ or network in their own countries. We have received many approaches from both governments and individuals for further courses and support.

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