Empowering people with financial knowledge

Breaking barriers and building community for Shanghai’s migrant women

As many factory jobs move from China to other countries, a growing number of women across China are looking to expand their economic opportunities by migrating from their home provinces to cities like Shanghai to start their own businesses. The Chinese government is also encouraging the development of small and medium enterprises as part of its job creation strategy. But, in addition to gender bias, because these migrant women are not residents of their new cities, they are often ineligible for existing entrepreneurship programs, state-funded credit programs and business networks reserved for residents.

As part of our commitment to fueling economic inclusion and growth, Moody’s is proud to support our Reshape Tomorrow™ partner The Asia Foundation’s launch of the Accelerate Women’s Entrepreneurship: Supporting Migrant Women-Owned Businesses project. Launched in 2018, this two-year project will provide 150 migrant women entrepreneurs in Shanghai with technical business assistance, mentoring sessions, credit-access trainings and tailored textbook materials to help them scale their new businesses.

The program includes gender-focused sessions on overcoming obstacles specific to women in business, the significance of female leadership and the importance of peer support to overcome these challenges. The training and mentorship team is composed of experienced local financial experts, and we plan for our Moody’s employees in Shanghai to get directly involved in 2020 as guest trainers.

Fifteen women participated in the first half-day advisory session, and five program graduates received one-on-one mentoring from Moody’s employees. To date, 73 women from provinces and municipalities across China have participated in the first two cohorts, with 69 women completing the program. Before enrolling in the program, more than 70% of the women had never received any financial training or guidance.

150

Migrant women entrepreneurs in Shanghai to be reached through the two-year program

Giving women the chance to be heard

The Accelerate Women’s Entrepreneurship program is the first-ever course tailored for Chinese migrant women, and its participants commend it for recognizing the unique business challenges they face and helping them amplify their businesses. One participant even commuted two hours each way and never missed a session.

“As a migrant woman who recently launched a business in Shanghai, I am touched and motivated by these training and mentorship sessions.”
ZHAO CAIHONG
ACCELERATE WOMEN’S ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAM PARTICIPANT

The trainees’ backgrounds are many and varied — the businesses the women are opening span education and childcare, media, information technology, e-commerce, sports, healthcare, consulting services, design, retail, culture, farming and more. What unites them is strength in the face of adversity.

While the women reported finding the content of the trainings practical and easy to understand; more importantly, many said the program helped them feel recognized by the Shanghai business community. “As a migrant woman who recently launched a business in Shanghai, I am touched and motivated by these training and mentorship sessions,” says Zhao Caihong, a participant. “It has helped me unite with other women in similar situations, and it has shown me that Shanghai is an inclusive society.”

Another participant, Zhang Jiahui echoed the sentiment. “Many people don't support my career choice, making me realize the importance of support groups of fellow businesswomen. This project helps me connect with my fellow businesswomen. And it helps me solve many issues in my daily business operations.”

“This project helps me connect with my fellow businesswomen. And it helps me solve many issues in my daily business operations.”
ZHANG JIAHUI
ACCELERATE WOMEN’S ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAM PARTICIPANT

Progress toward gender equality

Entrepreneurship program are crucial. Only with such proactive training measures will women’s access to opportunity continue to expand throughout Shanghai and beyond to level the playing field.