Supporting Female Entrepreneurship
The newly formed Singapore Women Entrepreneurs Network aims to be a platform for knowledge sharing and collaboration.
Launched by the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) on 21 September 2021, the Singapore Women Entrepreneurs Network (SG-WEN) seeks to bring together women entrepreneurs in Singapore and connect them with other women entrepreneurs, business leaders, and trade associations in ASEAN and the rest of the Asia-Pacific.
The founding members of SG-WEN include women business leaders from diverse sectors, namely:
• Ms Rachel Eng, Managing Director of Eng and Co. LLC
• Ms Ang Shih-Huei, Co-founder and CEO of Klareco Communications
• Mr Irene Boey, Consulting Director of Integral Solutions (Asia)
• Ms Jocelyn Chng, Chairman & Group CEO of JR Group
• Ms Olive Tai, Managing Director & Co-founder of Synagie
The network has been designated as Singapore’s official representative at the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Network. It has attracted more than 200 members since its official launch and aims to expand its membership base by attracting women entrepreneurs from diverse industries and sectoral backgrounds in the coming years.
BiZQ Speaks to Rachel Eng, SG-WEN’s inaugural Exco Chairperson and the Managing Director of law firm Eng and Co. LLC, on her vision for SG-WEN.
What is the rationale for setting up SG-WEN?
Women juggle multiple roles both at work and at home. Women entrepreneurs shoulder these responsibilities and face unique challenges when building their businesses. We believe more can be done collectively to empower, support, and uplift them.
While there are existing business networks for entrepreneurs, statistics show that women tend to be heavily outnumbered in these networks and may not be well represented.
We feel that SG-WEN as a network which is dedicated to, and strongly focused on, women entrepreneurship can help bring more attention to the unique challenges faced by women entrepreneurs.
What are some of the key benefits of being an SG-WEN member?
SG-WEN aims to be the leading network of women entrepreneurs in Singapore, with a focus on helping women entrepreneurs achieve the fullest potential in their businesses for the benefit of the communities and economies they serve.
The network will focus on supporting women entrepreneurs in four key areas:
- Championing women business issues through engagements with senior government officials as well as data-driven advocacy through surveys.
- Knowledge-sharing through fireside chats and networking events to spur business transformation and growth.
- Promoting collaboration with other women groups of trade associations and chambers, and networking with the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Network (AWEN), as well as other overseas groups.
- Recognising their achievements and successes.
SG-WEN, as Singapore’s representative at AWEN, is also able to represent the interests and perspectives of Singapore’s women at international forums and serve as the de-facto voice for women entrepreneurs in the region.
What do you hope to achieve as Chairperson of SG-WEN?
We are just starting out, but I hope that we can bring more women entrepreneurs into this network. Together, I hope that we can highlight the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs and provide a platform for existing women networks to collaborate to promote a supportive business environment, where women entrepreneurs can thrive and contribute as successful business owners to their economies and communities.
As we know, women carry childbearing responsibilities, and this duty often coincides with the period during which they are building their businesses and careers. By providing a platform such as SG-WEN, younger women entrepreneurs may be able to draw on the support, encouragement, and experience of the senior women entrepreneurs who have gone through a similar journey.
What are some of the challenges facing women entrepreneurs today? How can SG-WEN help them overcome the challenges?
Women entrepreneurs face challenges in their entrepreneurship journeys which may be different from what male entrepreneurs encounter.
For example, we often hear of women being subject to unconscious bias or that female start-up founders have a harder time in raising funds. One of the things which we hope to do is conduct research and surveys, collect market data and, on the back of that, advocate changes in policies, as appropriate, to relevant stakeholders.
How do you see the role of women entrepreneurs evolving amid the changing business landscape?
The global business landscape is evolving rapidly during this Fourth Industrial Revolution.
During this age of digitalisation, women are able to enjoy greater flexibility in working and caring for their families at the same time. But this alone is insufficient. Women continue to face societal pressures, gender bias, and cultural issues, among others.
While women entrepreneurs have shown extraordinary strength to overcome these challenges, it is hard to tell how many might have given up trying due to the lack of support, help or encouragement.
In a country like Singapore where human capital is a key resource, it is imperative for us to promote an environment where all talents with innovative ideas, whether male or female, have equal opportunity to succeed. At SG-WEN, we want to do what we can to help women entrepreneurs tap on one another for shared learning, experience sharing and business networking.
You are invited to be part of the Singapore Women Entrepreneurs Network. Join the network to:
• Meet and network with other women entrepreneurs from Singapore and the region
• Engage policymakers on women entrepreneurship issues in Singapore
• Support the development of women entrepreneurship in Singapore
For more information on SG-WEN, please visit https://www.sbf.org.sg/business-expansion/singapore-women-entrepreneurs-network or contact the SBF Secretariat team at SG-WEN.firstname.lastname@example.org.