IGF 2019 WS #272 Fast-tracking social tech for equal opportunities for women

Organizer 1: Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 2: Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 3: Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 4: Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Speaker 1: Maliha Khalid, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Brenda Katwesigye, Private Sector, African Group
Speaker 3: Nuria Oliver, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Policy Question(s): 

The internet and the ubiquity of mobile phones have opened unlimited opportunities for social and economic participation. However, such opportunities have led to a remarkable gender disparity regarding access and usage of internet based services as well as to a very significant lack of female talent in the technology world. For example, a study of the Vodafone Institute for Society and Communications has shown that only 5% of the founders of technology start-ups, which use the internet as a foundation for their business models, are women. Furthermore, female founded start-ups receive only 2% of the global venture capital despite having shown significantly better return on investment than their male counterparts have.

The prototype for a global tech accelerator program with a focus on social impact for women (F-Lane) has shown that there is tremendous potential for social tech entrepreneurs globally and particularly in the global South. These entrepreneurs leverage internet and mobile based technologies to develop social business models that provide access to e.g. education, health care and financial inclusion for women and girls. Thus, accelerating social tech entrepreneurship that adresseses womens needs could have a significant impact on achieving the SDGs. Nevertheless, the market is still small and the market entry barriers and failure risks are extremely high. Governments emphasize the need to foster social entrepreneurship, but there is a lack of programmatic, globally orchastrated public and private sector support.

Policy questions:
- What are catalysts, drivers and blockers of successful gender inclusive social tech entrepreneurship?
- How can we lower entry barriers for female social tech entrepreneurs (education and skills, gender stereotypes, access to technology, mentors and role models, access to investors and business partners, public funding sources)?
- How can governments and global institutions, the industry, civil society accelerate internet-based social entrepreneurship that fosters equal opportunities for women around the globe?

Relevance to Theme: With the workshop we want to address the question how we can foster the digital inclusion of women and girls by empowering social tech entrepreneurs who leverage the opportunities of the internet to provide access to education, health, economic and social participation. Thereby we address the broader question how social entrepreneurship can contribute to enhanced economic development, wellbeing and equal opportunities for all. As social entrepreneurs are social impact driven, they could play an even more important role in achieving the SDGs.

Despite its social and economic potential, the market for social tech is still underdeveloped or fragmented despite several activities on national, regional and supranational level such as the UN project for young social entrepreneurs.

With the workshop we want to identify main policy drivers and blockers to fact track social tech entrepreneurship on a global scale such as access to infrastructure, fostering skills and talent and access to public and private funding just to name a few. Main policy and governance issues should be identified in the workshop.

Relevance to Internet Governance: Social Entrepreneurship that leverages internet-based technologies could play a key role to address and solve social, economic and environmental challenges across the globe. Nevertheless, the "market" for social entrepreneurship does not fully function (yet). As digital inclusion is a key objective of the IGF, we see a need to discuss potential "market entry barriers" from an internet governance perspective. The IGF could provide a platform for different stakeholders from all global regions to identify these barriers as well as drivers and collaborate to promote and accelerate social entrepreneurship across the globe.

Policy questions:
- What are catalysts, drivers and blockers of successful gender inclusive social tech entrepreneurship?
- How can we lower entry barriers for female social tech entrepreneurs (education and skills, gender stereotypes, access to technology, mentors and role models, access to investors and business partners, public funding sources)?
- How can governments and global institutions, the industry, civil society accelerate internet-based social entrepreneurship that fosters equal opportunities for women around the globe?

Further context see section 5 (policy questions) and 6 (relevance to the theme).

Format: 

Break-out Group Discussions - Round Tables - 90 Min

Description: We aim for a highly interactive and output-orientied workshop that
a) provides insights in the global phenomen of social entrepreurship and the very practical problems of social entreprises founded by women and aiming at the wellbeing and inclusion of women as well as social tech initiatives and projects
b) leverages the insights of the IGF community on catalysts and blockers to advance social tech entrepreneurship to foster social inclusion.

We would structure the workshop as following:
1) 10 mins Scoping the problem
Global trends in Social Entrepreneurship, overview provided by Social Entrepreneurship Academy, Impact Hub and Vodafone Institute
2) 15 min Practical learnings
Maliha Khalid – Founder of Doctory (based in Pakistan) and Brenda Katwesigye – Founder of WaziRecycling (based in Uganda), explain their journey, obstacles and catalysts and hypothesis what needs to change
Nuria Oliver will explain, which challenges she has experienced during the design and execution of BigData4Good projects
3) 45 mins Breakout discussions
Three breakouts on role of governments and internation organisations, private sector and civic society to advance social tech entrepreneurship ww
4) 20 mins recap and what’s next

Expected Outcomes: - Clearer understanding of common or different catalysts, drivers, obstacles for social tech entrepreneurship that positively impacts women in different regions of the world

- Identify roles and responsibilities of relevant stakeholders in public and private sector and formulate recommendations for policy makers, industry and civic society how to foster and accelerate social entrepreneurship ww (the worshop is designed to be a kickstart for this debate)

- Establish a working group/network to advance the topic and continue work globally

Discussion Facilitation: 

See workshop description: Through breakout sessions.

We furthermore plan to activate experts and interested stakeholders to input to discussion a) in advance of the IGF 2019 via a social media campaign that allows to submit questions and input and b) online during the workshop session via the IGF Online Participation Platform.

Online Participation: 

see above

SDGs: 

GOAL 1: No Poverty
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-Being
GOAL 4: Quality Education
GOAL 5: Gender Equality
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
GOAL 17: Partnerships for the Goals