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Sheryl Sandberg wants women to “Lean In.” Dell wants them to “Pay It Forward.” Led by senior VP and CMO Karen Quintos, Dell is expanding its female entrepreneur initiative that covers bases for philanthropy international presence, business development and branding.

Quintos_Karen_wsIt’s called the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network, first launched in 2010. In early June it convened its third annual international conference in Istanbul. There it announced its new Pay It Forward initiative to mobilize successful women business owners and leaders to help more than one million aspiring women entrepreneurs by the end of 2015.

The program has three main elements. The 10,000 members of the Entrepreneur Network, Women Powering Business community and Wise Dell team member network to help at least 10 women entrepreneurs over the next two years, who in turn help 10 more. Through financial support or time, women will receive help to improve their access to the knowledge, technology, capital and networks they need to reach their full potential. A microsite www.Dell.com/payitforward will track suggestions on ways to “pay it forward” through a network of non-profit organizations focused on advancing women and girls. The portal will track member commitments, share information about organizations and communities that support women and girls, particularly in entrepreneurship, and report progress against the overall goal of helping one million women by the end of 2015.

“Through our work, we have experienced, first hand, the unique ‘multiplier effect’ that female entrepreneurs can have, not only on their own communities, but on the broader global economy,” says Quintos. “From this, we developed the theme ‘Pay It Forward’ for this year’s Dell Women’s Entrepreneur event and want to help established, successful female entrepreneurs support other up-and-coming female entrepreneurs through the sharing of knowledge, networks, technology and capital.”

From a branding and business development perspective, the DWEN expands on Dell’s entrepreneurial roots. Don’t forget that Michael Dell started the company in his University of Texas dorm room and in 1992 became the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company. It also taps into an international presence, with ties to the UN. It makes economic sense as well. Quintos says under representation of women in today’s business environment is a missed opportunity for many organizations—not just from a social standpoint but an economic one. Dell saw the opportunity to help accelerate the impact women can have on global economic growth, and launched DWEN in 2010 with the aim of connecting women entrepreneurs with the proper resources to grow their companies including Dell technology, services and solutions.

“Unleashing the power of female entrepreneurship can have a dramatic effect on a country’s economy. Increased access to knowledge, networks, capital and technology are critical if countries are to empower female entrepreneurship and create a culture of success,” said Quintos.

This year’s conference also came with significant research. It presented a new index called Gender-GEDI. Dell claims it is the only global index to measure high-potential female entrepreneurship based on individual aspirations, business environments and entrepreneurial ecosystems. The Gender-GEDI provides this “unique contribution to understanding the development of high-potential female entrepreneurs worldwide supported by a diagnostic tool to help affect change.”

Gender-GEDI is made up of 30 indicators and ranks 17 countries; Australia, Brazil, China, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Malaysia, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom and the United States. Top ranking countries scored consistently well across a range of indices. The U.S. scored high on indicators for good institutional foundations and a strong entrepreneurial environment, placing it No.1 in the rankings. Other top-ranking countries include; Australia (No. 2), Germany (No. 3), France (No. 4) and Mexico (No. 5). However, despite India’s recent economic surge, it ranked No. 16. Other rankings include Japan (12), Morocco (13), Brazil (14) and Egypt (15), and Uganda (No. 17).

Among the GEDI findings: “Networking with other entrepreneurs and having access to the Internet helps create opportunities for female entrepreneurs. In particular, the Internet provides new ways of networking that eliminate temporal and geographic, as well as gendered social constraints, that can limit women’s access to information and resources.” For example, in the U.K., 78 percent of Internet users are women, compared with less than 7 percent in India and Uganda.

 

 

 

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by Brandon Gutman
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Brandon is an expert connector and seasoned business development professional. As Principal of Brand Approved, he's led the advisory to become the bridge between brand marketers and best of breed service providers that are reshaping the industry.

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