The university’s Business and Management Research Institute has been working with partners in Indonesia, Myanmar and Vietnam to support women in growing their businesses using mobile technology.
Senior lecturer in banking and finance Dr Sandar Win pictured said: “We need to understand women’s roles in economic development in Indonesia, Myanmar and Vietnam because the informal economies in these countries play a significant role in development.
"When we talk about informal economy, we are referring to businesses that are not registered but the income generated from these contribute to family life and education of the children.”
The project revealed that most of the businesses that make up the informal economy are run and led by women. Researchers also discovered that although most did not have access to a bank account, they nearly always have access to a mobile phone.
The project explored how mobile technologies can support female business owners, many of whom face financial, social and geographic obstacles, particularly in conflict-hit areas such as Myanmar.
Dr Win said: “The findings of the project show that the aspirations and trust that women have in government bodies play a key role in adopting new technologies and seeking help for external finance. Therefore, to support women through mobile technologies and promoting financial inclusion, these are they key factors that require addressing.”
It is hoped that the findings will help non-governmental organisations and governmental organisations develop effective strategies to help women entrepreneurs grow their businesses.