Today is International Women’s Day. I own my own consulting and bookkeeping firm with my partner, Donna, who is a citizen and resident of the Philippines. My partner and I celebrate our international diversity on a daily basis. We are successful as a company because we engage and appreciate our employees. Our employees on both continents are engaged and truly appreciate our clients. Donna and I go over and above to make our employees feel part of our work family.
Our firm works predominately with small business owners, many of which are woman-owned. Owning your own business is a 24/7 job that comes with new challenges every day. It is most difficult when you are just getting started because it can be very difficult to obtain funding from traditional loan sources at reasonable interest rates, especially as a woman business owner in another country. Being in the accounting and bookkeeping business, Donna and I are very conscious of challenges that women business owners face around the globe. It’s a passion of mine to be involved in making a difference wherever I can.
Small Businesses Challenges in US vs. Uganda
- In 2018, the US Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy reports that there are 30.2 million small businesses in the US, which employ 58.9 million employees.
- New business owners struggle with:
- raising working capital
- finding skilled, reliable employees
- juggling the many roles required to manage the business
- Woman own 4 out of every 10 businesses in the US, according to the 2018 State of Women-Owned Business Report by American Express.
Now, consider what it’s like to be a small business owner in Uganda.
- The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor ranked Uganda the world’s most entrepreneurial country in 2015, attributed to 400,000 young people entering the job market annually to compete for 9,000 new jobs.
- Access to capital is considered the biggest barrier to growth.
- In 2017, a report by Mastercard cited 34.8 % of businesses in Uganda are owned by women
How We Contribute
While it can be difficult in the US to get startup funding for a new business, it’s even harder in remote countries such as Uganda. Our firm supports the efforts of our local Thousand Oaks-based charity, The Greater Contribution, www.greatercontribution.org, co-founded by Karon Wright. The Greater Contribution is celebrating it’s 11th anniversary of empowering impoverished women through the power of over 12,000 micro loans. The focus of the charity is to provide a borrowers’ program with micro loans along with literacy and financial management courses to empower women to rise out of poverty.
I serve as a Board Member and Treasurer of The Greater Contribution. I have witnessed first-hand the difference the charity has made in a family’s life. Ugandan women that have graduated from the borrower’s program cite the ability to feed their children more than 1 meal a day. They are also excited to send their children to school. When we support women business owners in Uganda, the women lead their communities and their families out of poverty. Most initial loans are equivalent to $55 and are repaid within 3 months. Those funds are then loaned again in perpetuity to other women business owners because the program has a 97.8% repayment rate.
Let’s build a world where women are supportive of one another. This is a wonderful opportunity to change a family’s life. Won’t you join me today?
Photos are courtesy of The Greater Contribution.
Written By: Jaime Davison, CPA, CGMA
Jaime Davison is the President/CEO of My Finance Resource and My Bookkeeping Resource. She has been an CFO/advisor to many startup’s in healthcare, biotech, software, manufacturing and entertainment/media industries. Jaime has 20+ years of experience in finance as a CFO/Controller and managing accounting/bookkeeping for Solopreneurs to Fortune 500 companies. For more information on how My Finance Resource can help your with you business contact firstname.lastname@example.org