UPS programme to empower women entrepreneurs in Asia, enhance business export capabilities

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Manila, Philippines

Series of trade workshops across Asia Pacific aims to help women-owned businesses expand to global markets

In conjunction with International Women’s Day on 8 March, UPS (NYSE:UPS) announced a series of capacity-building workshops for female entrepreneurs in the Philippines and several markets across Asia Pacific, in partnership with organizations such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the International Trade Centre’s (ITC) SheTrades initiative.

According to a study by the United Nations, limiting women’s participation in the workforce is costing the Asia Pacific region an estimated US$89 billion annually1. While the region has made inroads in women’s entrepreneurship, evidenced by their ownership of 59%2 of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), their businesses tend to be concentrated in lower-value activities. They also appear to be significantly less internationally oriented than male-owned businesses in expanding beyond borders and participating in regional and global value chains3.

In the Philippines in particular, a joint study by the Asian Development Bank and The Asia Foundation notes that 43% of women entrepreneurs in the Philippines start their own ventures as a result of necessity, when conditions to earn viable income are not present, as opposed to starting business ventures that respond to market opportunities4.

“UPS would like small-businesses to dream big. We are excited about leveraging our global trade expertise to help women entrepreneurs access new markets and opportunities,” said Shiumei Lin, Vice President, Public Affairs & Sustainability, UPS Asia Pacific Region.

“Micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Philippines make up 99.5% of all businesses in the Philippines, and out of these, a majority are established by women. It’s crucial that women-owned businesses have access to all the resources they need to realize their business ambitions. In doing so, it presents potential knock on benefits to the larger economy. UPS Philippines is proud to contribute to the country’s economic vibrancy by helping homegrown women entrepreneurs remove barriers to trade and expand across borders,” said Chris Buono, Managing Director, UPS Philippines and Indonesia.

The workshops are part of UPS’s Women Exporters Programme (WEP), a global initiative that aims to empower women-owned businesses with the knowledge and skills to take their products across borders, export around the globe and increase their market share. The WEP adopts a three-pronged approach comprising:

  • Capacity building through workshops and webinars to educate women business owners and their employees about customs regulations, supply chain processes, trade agreements and export opportunities.
  • Improving market access by partnering with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and governments, while leveraging UPS’s comprehensive product portfolio for small businesses to help women entrepreneurs identify market access opportunities and tap high-demand industries that suit their skills and circumstances
  • Enabling regulatory frameworks by engaging in conversations about policy barriers that discriminate against women who want to export, while also aiming to foster a regulatory environment that enables greater export growth by women-owned businesses.

UPS held its first workshop on 3 March in Cagayan de Oro in the Philippines in  partnership with the local USAID mission, where close to 100 women entrepreneurs received training from UPS on trade procedures, navigating customs regulations and how to make their first export to customers, in addition to consumer research insights from UPS’s Pulse of the Online Shopper study.

Further workshops are lined up for other cities in the Philippines, as well as Vietnam and Malaysia throughout 2020.

1. APEC Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy Workplan 2019

2. Emerging Lessons on Women’s Entrepreneurship in Asia and the Pacific, Case Studies from the Asia Development Bank and the Asia Foundation, 2018

3. Fostering Women’s Entrepreneurship in ASEAN, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, 2018

4. Emerging Lessons on Women’s Entrepreneurship in Asia and the Pacific, Asian Development Bank and The Asia Foundation, 2018

About UPS

UPS (NYSE: UPS) is a global leader in logistics, offering a broad range of solutions including transporting packages and freight; facilitating international trade, and deploying advanced technology to more efficiently manage the world of business. Headquartered in Atlanta, UPS serves more than 220 countries and territories worldwide. The company can be found on the web at or and its corporate blog can be found at To get UPS news direct, follow @UPS_Asia on Twitter.