WINNER (Women into the New Network for Entrepreneurial Reinforcement) is a 3.5 year global project, currently operational in Albania, Bangladesh, China, Ecuador, Nepal, Philippines, Romania and Zimbabwe. It seeks to strengthen the practical and technical skills of women entrepreneurs through the application of basic training on information and communication technologies. Beneficiaries receive training on e-commerce, international trade, fair trade, business management and gender issues with a view towards promoting accesses to local, regional and international markets.
WINNER is building the capacity of “partner” organizations to provide business development services to women entrepreneurs. To ensure access to information and communications technologies, Help Desks have been established and equipped with computers and Internet connectivity.
The project’s recently launched “Electronic Market Space” (www.winner-devnet.org) on the Internet showcases the products and services of women trainees, and provides a forum to interact with women entrepreneurs in developed countries.
As of April 2002, WINNER successfully provided training to a total of 2,155 women and signed 64 co-operation agreements. Ten Help Desks have also been established. Many women entrepreneurs have formed new partnerships with other producers to meet increased demand from their growing businesses. Together, these women beneficiaries represent an informal, international network of small- and micro-enterprise entrepreneurs.
WINNER entrepreneurs offer products and services in various sectors including garments; gifts, toys and housewares; food and beverages; herbal essential oils and body care products; candles; fashion jewellery; arts and crafts including those using indigenous designs and materials; bags, convention kits and office items; furniture; printing and book publishing; micro- finance, training and consulting; energy products; agricultural implements; pharmaceuticals; carpets; ceramics; child care; floriculture; and tailoring.
As capacity-building project, WINNER serves the purpose of a long-distance and continuing education for women in the SME sector.
Through the use of Internet tools, the project provides women entrepreneurs
participating in the WINNER project with information on business opportunities, basic know-how in running their businesses, and capability in gearing their businesses to the global market.
With the information and Internet tools available to these women-run enterprises, the WINNER project creates the conditions conducive for business partnerships, trade collaboration and technology cooperation to meet the challenge of global competition in the New Economy.
Trainors training the core personnel of participating women associations, whose members are gearing to market expansion or business start-ups. The training modules on E-commerce, International Trade and Enterprise Management are in the CD-ROM self-learning packages.
Matching of production supply with market demand, through networking of buying agencies and producers and production cooperatives in the WINNER participating countries. This is done through the electronic market space created for the WINNER project.
Continuing education on international trade, trends and tools for making business abreast of the world market through the sustained information flow from the production side to market scene, carried out through the TIPS global database and information services.