UNSW Business School secures funding to strengthen relationships with countries of Southeast Asia

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A UNSW Business School project to help enable women’s economic empowerment and financial inclusion in developing communities has secured funding from the Australian Government through the Australia-ASEAN Council of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Dr Felix Tan of UNSW Business School and his project collaborators will use the funding to deliver a series of workshops in Canberra, Jakarta and Bangkok aimed at increasing knowledge of the role of women in technology-driven entrepreneurship and the opportunities they present for communities.

The workshops will target university students and leaders of youth groups. In addition, a series of frameworks and roadmaps will be developed to increase knowledge at a national level.

“The entrepreneurial potential in rural areas of ASEAN countries like Indonesia is fast growing,” Dr Tan said. “Many small business ventures with the right training and support are using mobile phones to take their small stores online. In some areas, local governments note women account for up to 80% of new entrepreneurs.

“We want to help them – particularly the young women – build their digital entrepreneurship skills. It’s not just about the economics, there are enormous social benefits too.”

The workshops will share case studies of existing digital programs in farming communities across ASEAN countries, the effect of digital marketplaces and the current state of women’s digital entrepreneurship initiatives and small to mid-size enterprises for example in West Java and South Sulawesi of Indonesia.

The federal government will provide over $30,000 to deliver the project titled Fostering Women’s Economic Empowerment through Digital Entrepreneurship. Universities and partners will provide an additional $50,000 in funding and in-kind support.

The UNSW Business School will deliver the project in partnership with Dr Amelia Faisal from Social Trust Fund and UIN Jakarta, Dr Peter Ratcham from Thammsat Business School in Bangkok, and UNSW’s Institute for Global Development. The Institute acts as a catalyst for the UNSW community to deliver on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, working to positively transform lives and advance a just society.

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