17 Feb OPINION // The Growing Influence of Female Business Networks in Asia
Not a day goes by without reading about the fantastic growth being experienced across the Asian tech/digital industry, and it’s certain that in 2015 there will be even more head-spinning changes. Amongst all of this, everyone is trying to keep up with the fast and forward-moving waves of opportunity.
Increased funding and more activity from local and international VCs continue to provide optimism. A plethora of Internet giants are extending their e-Commerce reach into new markets via investment and acquisitions including the USD$249mill stake in Singapore Post by Alibaba. Further interest in the region and a more mobile workforce is now placing an increased importance on new, creative and collaborative ways to be part of the growing wealth and transformation as well as how to build your network from Day One.
Last week, MitchelLake were invited to a great networking event which prompted me to delve into this topic. The event run by Athena Network Singapore Chapter provides a platform as a conduit for discussion, ideas and shared experiences in this constantly evolving industry. Specifically addressing female executives and entrepreneurs’ needs, it has grown to a global network that is 2600 members strong in the UK, Asia-Pacific and USA since its inception in 2005 in the UK. The Singapore Chapter was set up by prolific entrepreneur Gina Romero to provide an international collaborative platform for professional businesswoman and entrepreneurs to grow their business through focused networking, as well as benefit from additional training.
There are obviously numerous examples of female executives and entrepreneurs who have been remarkably successful but I still feel that they are under-represented in the Digital/Innovation space. Whilst embryonic compared to the more mature markets of the USA, Australia, Europe and even Israel, the startup or high-growth tech businesses in Asia have a long way to go to achieve parity…and a blog post for another discussion no doubt beckons! My point is that we will, and should, continue to support, contribute and spread the word about networks and forums who are bringing passionate and likeminded females together to share ideas, soundboard experiences and help sharpen their commercial edge in carving out commercial opportunities
In various major Asian countries/cities including China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia, females currently make up only 28% of the executive workforce on average (China has the highest with 36%, while Japan is the weakest with only 15% of the executive workforce represented by females), so it is not hard to imagine the unique need for collaboration and for providing a support system to encourage female executives and entrepreneurs to stay hungry and continue to create competition that keeps this part of the world continually exciting and unpredictable.
OTHER TOP FEMALE NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES IN APAC
Women Media Network is a professional network dedicated to cultivating leadership and community for members of the media and related industries in Asia Pacific.
Girls In Tech is a global non-profit focused on the engagement, education and empowerment of influential women in technology and entrepreneurship.
Connected Women is a community dedicated to driving technology adoption by women-led businesses and startups. Organised by Connected Women in association with The Athena Network Singapore and National Youth Council Singapore.