The world economy has grown steadily over the last decade, and globally the gender gap in the workforce is narrowing. However, this progress saw a setback by an estimated two years due to the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people believe successful businesses require a full-time commitment from entrepreneurs, and that part-time businesses — or those operated from home — will not be successful. The e-commerce business provides an opportunity to women entrepreneurs to start and expand their businesses while working from home along with flexible timing that enables them to create their own schedules, including managing a competing household and childcare responsibilities while participating economically. The e-commerce industry has brought the world to their doorsteps with the consumers and sellers being just one click away on the computer. The flexibility and technological ease of the internet now allows women entrepreneurs to conduct businesses entirely online. In layman’s terms, e-commerce is engaging with trade and commercial activities online through electronic devices. Therefore, all transactions conducted through a website, via email orders, or another form of electronic communication fall within the realm of e-commerce. In South Asia, there is no dearth of skills among women to manage small or medium enterprises, but rather a gap or vacuum in the technological know-how to conduct an online business. With a small boost in capacity and the efficient use of information and communication technology, women can reach new heights of entrepreneurship. A multitude of online platforms offer women entrepreneurs virtual marketplaces where they can easily market their products. This training manual aims to introduce the basic concepts of digital marketing and e-commerce so that women entrepreneurs are equipped to carry out their online businesses and achieve their business goals. This manual is a step-by-step guide on how to start an online business to provide practical, hands-on training for women entrepreneurs, and can be used in future by any entrepreneur. The manual introduces existing e-commerce platforms and demonstrates how to set up an online business. For this purpose, a live demo portal has been developed, on which it is even possible to generate orders based on enquiries. The manual includes critical components for online startups, including how to register businesses and products and link businesses to bank accounts.
Subregional Office for South and South-West Asia +91 11 3097 3700 [email protected]