mWomen. It’s a somewhat new term I throw around quite often in my line of work with Qualcomm Wireless Reach, many times forgetting that not everyone knows what it stands for. So today, on November 19th, as we celebrate the second annual Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, I wanted to take a moment to call attention to women entrepreneurs and how some are using the transformative power of mobile technology.
And that brings us back to mWomen, which stands for “mobile women.” For so many reasons, I love this term. Beyond its intrinsic goal of empowering women through the use of mobile tools and devices, an inspiring concept in and of itself, the word “mobile” also conjures up images of being active and on the go. Both of which also inherently describe many of the entrepreneurial women this day honors and that I am surrounded by, both in and outside of the office.
Recently, I visited some incredible female entrepreneurs in the Philippines who rely on mobile for their daily business activities. Their stories are unbelievable, simply no other way to describe them. They have found ways to overcome challenging circumstances by putting mobile to use in situations where even the most inventive minds may have been stumped. For example, one woman named Alicia had her house and business washed out by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. In one fell swoop, all of her inventory - her livelihood - was completely destroyed. When she learned of an opportunity to use mobile money services in her store, though, she quickly took advantage of training classes and re-building assistance and now has a thriving business that assists herself, her family, and her community – all through the power of mobile.
The innovative female approach of using mobile for social and economic impact around the globe in disaster situations, to help build the capacity of social enterprises in the field, and in every other way these entrepreneurs portray is just one reason to celebrate today. Another way to celebrate is to take action; here are just a few ways you can help right now:
Nanay Alicia proudly displays her re-built store in Leyte, Philippines during my recent visit.
Nanay Alicia and I discuss how she has incorporated her mobile phone into her daily business practices. (Left to right: Michelle Martin, Head of Wireless Reach’s Global PR & Marketing, Nanay Alicia, myself)