Friday, October 29, 2010


“Forget China, India and the Internet, economic growth is driven by women” The Economist.

I love this quote. It was one shared by a speaker from Portugal at the recent TIAW Global Summit. I learned so much at this two-day event, including the following inspiring story.

It is hard enough here to get a loan for your business, but imagine what it is like in other countries, where women have no rights, no property and no access to money.

That’s how it used to be in India, but thanks to the efforts of Selima Ahmad
and women like her, that situation is changing. A successful business owner herself, she could see that women were not able to get ahead without the support and finances to build a business.

So she lobbied to have a Women’s Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh. At first she was turned down, but she would not give up and found a loop-hole clause that meant that the government had to do something. They agreed to her request, provided she made it to the government buildings by a certain time to sign the documents. She lived 45 minutes from that location, and there was no way she could make their deadline.

Being a creative and determined woman, she decided to find alternative, fast transportation to get her there on time. So she called for an ambulance! You can just imagine the officials’ faces when she stepped out, pen in hand all ready to sign the necessary paperwork.

But she didn’t stop there, using the same lobby tactics and persistence, in 2006 she persuaded the banks to set aside $13 million to provide loans to women-owned businesses.

Oh that I wish she could do that here!

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