International Organisation for Knowledge Economy and Enterprise Development
IKED - International Organisation for Knowledge Economy and Enterprise Development

Activities

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..:: International Collaboration on Women Entrepreneurship
The conditions confronting Women Entrepreneurship and Women-owned SMEs give rise to major distortions and inefficiencies in many societies Among its various engagements in this field, IKED has been represented for several years on the Steering Group of the OECD work on Women's Entrepreneurship in the MENA countries, which develops strategies for building awareness of the potential of women's entrepreneurship as a driver for economic growth and social inclusion in the MENA region. Under the theme "promoting women's entrepreneurship in The MENA Region", the programme has identified four key areas for action: knowledge and awareness building, adding advocacy capacity, enhancing women's entrepreneurial competence and skills (including ICT) and building networks, business partnerships and international trade linkages. The proposal of establishing a regional Forum for Women's Entrepreneurship was advanced to the MENA-OECD Women business Leaders Forum in Cairo November 27, 2007, back-to-back with a Ministerial meeting, by ministers responsible for international trade and investment. Among other things, this led to Ministerial acceptance of the 2007 MENA-OECD Declaration on Fostering Women's Entrepreneurship in the MENA Region.

Another set of activities started in 2004 as IKED. jointly with Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP), organized a panel at the World Knowledge Forum in Seoul, Korea, on programmes for upgrading of competencies related to management and the introduction of ICT in women-owned SMEs. Following from these sessions, IKED and GKP prepared a Handbook for the development of appropriate programmes and practical action in this area. Women entrepreneurs from different parts of the world contributed, addressing issues and opportunities confronting women entrepreneurs in areas such as financing, trade, networking and use of new technologies, all related to ICT. Increased understanding of the issues at hand, and how they can be addressed by developed and developing countries alike, with varying inputs and contributions from different stakeholders, is of fundamental importance for improved strategies in these areas.

>> Read more (IKED Publications)

..:: WOE Policy Handbook - paving the way forward
The above issues are international and cross traditional boundaries. In order to respond the growing need for action and collaboration in the field, the International Organisation for Knowledge Economy and Enterprise Development (IKED) and Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP) have launched a joint international project focusing on how to enhance competencies and skills in WOEs. Resolving the issues addressed in the project is important for underpinning higher economic growth as well as regional development, employment and social welfare around the world.

The project was launched on full scale in connection with the World Knowledge Forum in Seoul, October 2004. At the World Knowledge Forum, IKED and GKP organised a joint session on WOEs. In connection with the event, two special expert meetings were organised as well. Based on the discussions and related input, and additional contributions provided in subsequent months, the Handbook will take shape and be finalised in the coming year.

IKED and GKP will identify and develop methods to address weak links related to specific (and possibly lacking) competences among women entrepreneurs. In this work, a number of international experts are involved, representing Asia, Africa, North America and Europe. Through the sharing of experience on critical issues and policies, the Handbook will provide a coherent analysis of the current situation and opportunities confronting women-owned SMEs. It will not only serve as a guidebook for women in SMEs, but will present solid recommendations for policies and programmes that are conducive to the improved performance of women-owned SMEs as well as to wider economic and social progress.

..:: Follow-up activities with a global reach
Based on the work carried out by IKED and GKP, the aim is to provide international applicable structures for training courses and policy making throughout the world. The issues put forward are universal for women entrepreneurs even though the actual conditions may vary between nations and regions. The book will present recommendations to governments, intermediaries, and academia as well as to various private actors in the field. Distinctions are made between the needs of existing WOE and future/potential WOEs in different countries, with considerations to varying conditions with respect to level of development, cultural context, internationalisation, sectored features, and so on. How can governments and educational institutions address the vital issue of competence development of WOEs in an appropriate way? The areas which will be discussed include particularly financing, management, marketing, networking and alliance-building and advocacy, and the use of new technologies.

For further information please see www.globalknowledge.org/smehandbook
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