Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Secret Recipe to Reaching “The ‘I’m Possible’ Goal of Empowering a Billion Women by 2020”

Technology and women go hand in hand. Leveraging the incredible power of technology to inspire women entrepreneurs will lead them along a path to success. 

Empowering a Billion Women by 2020 (EBW2020) is the vision of one woman, Ingrid Vanderveldt, Entrepreneur-In-Residence, Dell Inc. Her life's work — focused on getting the tools, technology, and resources into the hands of women around the world through three channels — business, policy, and media is quite ambitious and to be applauded. I am excited and energized to take part in her mission.

It's this shared vision that I pledge my commitment to women’s success worldwide. It's also because of this that I discovered the wonderful organization, the UN Foundation, with a specific focus on women and girls issues worldwide. 

At the core of EBW2020 is technology: the key enabler, escalator, and connector to success via the accessibility to everything it provides.  The secret to realizing this goal:  getting a smartphone into the hands of every woman. Getting smartphones into the hands of women around the world, we can inspire, educate, connect, and empower women as successful leaders and entrepreneurs. Smartphone access, when combined with education around financial literacy and mentoring is the secret to getting our global economy turned around.

I hope you will think about the ways that you, too, can harness the power of technology to help all women around the world prosper. Below are ways that you can begin, both with technology and also in a practical manner.

You can find out and become part of the EBW2020 vision at

Support Mobile Currency Vehicles
Mobile money is becoming the method of choice for purchasing and payments globally. Africa is leading the way in mobile payments with the launch of programs like M-Pesa. This Summer, will be announcing a partnership with an organization that allows people in developed worlds to load, or “top off” phones for those in the developing worlds (ideal for families/diaspora who come to work in the States and send money back to their home countries). Stay tuned at for more details.

Donate Used Cell Phones
Often times, individuals in developing countries are not able to purchase cell phones to be able to even participate in the types of programs mentioned above. Now, there are solutions to be able to get those old phones into the hands of people needing them the most like medical providers and emergency services. You can support places like AND by donating your old phones.

Become a Mentor
With the unrivaled connectability the Internet provides, we have the option to learn and teach with millions at our fingertips. Find a woman entrepreneur—or a group—and set up monthly webinars, hangouts, etc. to open up a global platform for best practice sharing and lessons learned. 

Explore Emerging Markets
Some of the cities with the most technology-heavy, entrepreneurial action are outside Silicon Valley and the U.S. all together. Explore and consider launching your next tech endeavor abroad, including the help of the local, talented women entrepreneurs. You can find programs to be involved with through places including: The UN Foundation, Springboard Enterprises, The Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network, and the Kauffman Foundation.

Spread the Word
Media is a tremendously powerful vehicle. With the plethora of news apps, there are numerous articles, blogs, and videos posted daily highlighting some of the most incredible women entrepreneurs and their businesses. Help be a messenger and change-agent by reposting, sharing, and providing them visibility.

Support Women-Owned/Launched Products and Services
Chances are, a combination of software, apps, hardware, and services is the recipe to success in your business. Explore the women-owned/launched options first and make it a point to always diversify your options to truly support women entrepreneurs.

Open Your Resources Up
Chances are your company has an arsenal of resources that can propel small businesses. Create a dialogue and a win-win, focusing on women-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs and see the incredible opportunities it opens up for both.

If you’re inspired to join along on this journey towards a global sustainable future, sign up for updates and stay connected at, and become part of this adventure!

Relevant Numbers

“70% of new businesses are started by women. 91% of women say advertisers don’t understand them”  FORBES 

“When women are aware your company supports women owned businesses, 79% would try your products & services. 80% of women solidify their loyalty to brands that support them.” Trendwatching 

“92% of women pass along information they find about deals to others.” Ogilvy & Mather

Women are the primary buyers for computers, cars, banking, financial services, and a lot of other big-ticket categories. Primetime Women 

“Over the next decade, women will control two thirds of consumer wealth in the United States and be the beneficiaries of the largest transference of wealth in our country’s history. Estimates range from $12 to $40 trillion." FleshmanHillard

In the U.S., women oversee 80% of consumer spending, totaling $3.7 trillion. They control more than $20 trillion or about 70% of global consumer spending. JCDecaux MallScape, Market Week, & Boston Consulting Group