Central America: Linking women business enterprises (WBEs) with the global gifts and home decoration market
Central America: Women and E-commerce
The project Linking Central American Women Business Enterprises (WBEs) with the Global Gifts and Home Decoration Market aims to improve the export performance of women-led-enterprises from Central America to sell online.
The project beneficiaries are women-led-companies involved in the sale and export of handicrafts for the gift and home decoration industries from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panamá.
The project funded by the European Union (EU) has been implemented between 2018 and 2021 by the International Trade Centre (ITC) in collaboration with the Secretariat for Central American Economic Integration (SIECA) and in partnership with national organizations.
To achieve its objective, the project has produced five immediate results as follows:
- WBEs have increased their export business management skills for online commercialization.
- WBEs’ products and services have exhibit enhanced design, quality and compliance with market trends and customers’ demands
- WBEs have developed high quality digital and promotional material.
- WBEs have established connections with business partners through increased presence on the Web
WBEs have acquired the technical know-how to fulfil electronic buyers’ orders.
Sustainable Development Goals
Supporting women entrepreneurs through e-commerce
The demand for handicrafts has grown exponentially in recent years, especially in Europe and the United States, with international e-commerce opening an important market opportunity for Central American women artisans.
Yet many women lacked the digital skills to take full advantage of online sales. ITC’s ecomConnect team stepped in with trainers and coaches to help 200 small businesses and 24 local trade and design support institutions. Participants learned about product design and export management for online sales. From 2018-2021, ITC helped in the development of 580 new on-trend handicraft products for the international market.
ITC also organized several tailored e-labs for the most qualified businesses and launched an E-commerce Leadership Programme offering peer-to-peer e-commerce coaching.
The project helped businesswomen open successful commercial websites, improve shipping times, and track sales metrics. From 2017-2021, businesses assisted by ITC generated more than $USD 86,000 in revenue, 125 companies received more than 2,400 orders online from 21 markets, and created and optimized 119 websites and stores on Etsy, eBay and Novica.