WEDay2020: SCORE Training to the benefit of women entrepreneurs

The ILO’s SCORE Programme is dedicated to improving working conditions & productivity in small and medium-sized enterprises and aims for gender equality across all sectors. Whether supporting women entrepreneurs or teaching gender-sensitive practices through MIG SCORE, SCORE Training is committed to empowering women at all levels in SMEs.

Article | 19 November 2020
To date, over 590 female entrepreneurs have benefited from SCORE Training globally. In each programme country, strategies are put in place to ensure that it benefits as many women as possible. Depending on the different sectors in each country, SCORE Training is delivered, communication strategies are adopted and training materials are adapted to ensure that women benefit from the productivity gains & working conditions improvements that SCORE Training can bring.

Taking Peru as one country example, enormous efforts have been undertaken to stress the importance of gender balanced workforce and management and great results are now being seen. Since the opening of the SCORE Training in 2013, over 280 companies have benefited from the training, almost a third of which are owned by women. In 2017, nearly 40 percent of the enterprises that have benefited from the programme were owned by women entrepreneurs. A recent report on the impact of SCORE Training in Peru showed that gender equality has improved, with the average percentage of female workers rising from 32 to 35 percent, and that several SMEs have adopted policies or initiatives to promote gender equality in the workplace. Women's Entrepreneurship Day is an opportunity to recall the importance of women's empowerment and ensuring SMEs that are hard hit by the pandemic ride this wave with the best chances of survival.

How does the ILO's SCORE Training concretely benefit women entrepreneurs?

The SCORE Programme ensures that as many women as possible are participating in SCORE Training and that there is a gender balance among its trainers, among the workers who benefit from SCORE Training, and among entrepreneurs. The presence of women at all levels of the company helps to encourage women's participation. The training advises that women are essential in Enterprise Improvement Teams to ensure new initiatives are launched with a gender lens from the outset. Best practices related to gender equality are increasingly taught through SCORE Training. MIG SCORE, helps to push the balance even further with practical advice on issues like equal pay for equal job, voice equality and work-life balance, and has become a pillar of SCORE Training. In Ghana, a major communication strategy was deployed during the COVID-19 pandemic to raise awareness on gender equality issues through webinars. In Ethiopia, while none of the five companies trained in 2019 by the newly opened programme were owned by women, they now account for more than a quarter of the participating enterprises. More and more women entrepreneurs are joining the programme to take advantage of the improvements that SCORE training can bring.

SCORE Training helps the companies of all entrepreneurs to become more competitive and sometimes even helps to create space for women in traditionally male sectors. This example shows how a female entrepreneur managed to make a place for herself in the fishing sector which in Peru which remains a predominantly male domain.

For Giovanna Sanchez, Managing Director of GSE GENERAL SERVICES, the SCORE Programme has greatly benefited her company, which operates in the fishing industry.
  1. Through the training and workshops that SCORE Training is providing, her company has been able to move towards formalization.
  2. Through the support provided by the trainers on health and safety issues in the workplace during the pandemic, and with quick access to new regulations, the company was able to adapt more quickly to new ways of working, ensuring staff safety
  3. By creating new channels of communication between workers and managers, SCORE Training has helped build a climate of mutual listening and understanding where all opinions are heard and necessary information reaches everyone.
  4. As a woman, SCORE Training also boosted her confidence, allowing her to see what she was capable of. By building her autonomy, she now excels as a woman entrepreneur in an environment that is predominantly male.
Thank you very much to the SCORE Programme, for the commitment you made from the very first moment to help us, to prepare us for continued growth, in a different way, in a much more prepared way".

Giovanna Sanchez, Managing Director at GSE General Services, Lima Peru

Now more than ever, female entrepreneurs and workers in SMEs need the greatest attention, through sharing best practices and better tools to remain competitive and ensure the continuity of their operations. In times where innovative solutions must be found, it is important to ensure diversity among entrepreneurs and SME staff alike.

As one SCORE Trainer says “Lift women, lift society.”

For more information on how SCORE Training can support you as a female entrepreneur in any of the countries where we operate please contact us.