Research Finds 92% of Women-Owned Businesses Yet to Explore Export Opportunities

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Research Finds 92% of Women-Owned Businesses Yet to Explore Export Opportunities

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Research Finds 92% of Women-Owned Businesses Yet to Explore Export Opportunities

Findings of research to be released for this year’s International Women’s Day by the Oxford Africa Women Leadership Institute (OAWLI), an enterprise support organisation, shows that less than 20% of women-led businesses in Ghana have ever exported.

From the research, only 9% – 31 out of 386 respondents – have exported so far. 13 out of the 31 had no export certificates, while nine hold certificates from the Ghana Export Promotion Authority.

This means close to 50% of those who had exported before sent their items through family and friends. With an alarming 92% – 355 respondents – having no export experience, the research inquired if they were well aware of the required certifications needed to export in the future. Only 20% – 71 out of the 355 respondents – were aware. Seventy-eight per cent – 260 out of the 355 respondents – were not remotely aware of the required certifications, with 6% – 22 out of 355 respondents – unsure if they knew about the required certificates or not.

Through the data collected, it was proven that 58% – 207 out of 235 respondents – with no export experience were well aware of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Thirty-nine per cent – 139 out of 335 respondents – had no idea about it, with roughly 3% – nine out of 395 respondents – being unsure of what the AfCFTA actually is.

Conclusions are that there is a need to improve upon export readiness for women-led businesses within the SME space. There is also the need for some level of stratification to define clearly who is export-ready and what they require to actually export as part of efforts to deliberately promote export in Ghana to improve upon the balance of payment and the country’s over reliance on oil revenue.

Looking at the fact that the SME sector of the economy contributes majorly to economic activities and women form more than 44% of that population, women-owned businesses will require the needed support.

Though there are government efforts, it will take the female-led businesses also to personally seek the required information to be export-ready. There will be a need to support export certification from GEPA, PPRSD, FDA and GSA since more than 90% of the respondents had no export certification.

Business transactions of respondents that went through digital channels

Respondents were asked to indicate the percentage range in which their business transactions or sales were facilitated through digital platforms or online channels.

A hundred and thirty-eight respondents effected between 0% and 30% of their business transactions through digital channels.

Another 138 respondents carried out between 40% and 70% of their business transactions through digital channels and 102 respondents conducted 70% to 100% of their business transactions via such channels.

Eight respondents chose not to reply to this question.

Technology’s impact on business reach

Twenty-seven respondents gave no response to this inquiry.

A hundred and thirty-seven respondents reported a 0% to 30% increase in business reach. A hundred and fifty-two respondents reported a 40% to 70% increase in business reach because of the impact of technology.

And 70 respondents reported a 70% to 100% increase in business reach through the impact of technology.

Respondents’ use of digital marketing

The respondents were asked to state how often they used digital marketing for their business operations, to enable the researchers to understand their use of technology for optimising business efficiency.

Two hundred and twenty-five out of the 386 respondents used digital marketing frequently.

A hundred and forty-four respondents used digital marketing rarely and 13 respondents had never used digital marketing.

Eight respondents chose not to answer.

Women-led businesses prefer Instagram

The respondents preferred digital channels for online marketing. The OAWLI researchers also solicited to understand the most preferred social media platform among respondents.

Instagram emerged as the one most widely used, by 166 out of the 386 respondents, while 152 out of the total 386 respondents used Facebook.

Thirty-three respondents declined to answer, 24 respondents said they used TikTok, eight used LinkedIn, two used Twitter and one respondent used Snapchat.

Research method

This study used a quantitative sampling technique to provide a full understanding of the topic.

OAWLI’s cornerstone is in collecting quantitative data, which offers a solid platform on which to build understanding.

Key quantitative information, ranging from financial limits and market access limitations to demographics and business performance, is revealed through a representative survey given to a varied sample of female business owners from the SHEconomy Africa project.

The research was conducted using questionnaires.

Conclusions on technology and recommendations

Women-led businesses need a great deal of technological support for their business processes, as they understand the need for digital media for marketing.

By deduction, any business targeting women-owned businesses should be looking at Instagram as the best digital media channel.

The OAWLI research will be launched at the British Council in Accra on 5 March 2024 and will be outdoored by the Swiss ambassador to Ghana, Simone Giger.

The Oxford Africa Women Leadership Institute (OAWLI) Women Investment in Africa Summit (WISA24), on the theme “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress”, takes place on 5 March. For more information, call 030 395 6270 or 030 244 604 224.


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