LEVERAGING ICT TO ENHANCE THE IMPACT AND EFFECTIVENESS OF THE TIANJIN WOMEN’S BUSINESS INCUBATOR

Describe the project in one sentence:

Through the project implementation improve the usage ICT awareness and capacity of the disadvantaged community expecially small and medium women entrepreneurs to reduce the digital divide and change their social and economic status.

Summary:

Our project is to use ICT as a "force multiplier"to extend the impact and outreach of TWBI on our target community of disadvantaged women entrepreneurs. The needs of this community are great, while TWBI resources are limited. We believe that the effective use of ICT will enable us to significantly improve the quality of our incubation services and increase the quantity of incubation clients served. We will assist disadvantaged women entrepreneurs throughout China by promoting women's entrepreneurship, the TWBI model and lessons . Under this project, we propose three specific activities: 1. Building a modern digital infrastructure for TWBI and its clients (with hardware costs funded entirely by counterpart contributions), and recruiting a small number of digitally capable staff. 2. Designing and implementing modern management information and accounting systems, and training staff and client businesses on effective use of PCs, internet and the newly installed business systems. 3. Using our website to serve local women entrepreneurs by providing (a) a rich collection of resources on starting up and growing new businesses, (b) moderated forums and chat rooms to provide guidance to entrepreneurs and enable them to learn from each other, and (c) modular e-commerce storefronts for local small businesses.

Vision ?objectives ?goals:</< TD>

By effectively leveraging ICT, we can greatly enhance our ability to satisfy the large excess demand for our incubation services. We plan to do this by (i) improving the state of our IT infrastructure; (ii) implementing advanced MIS and enhancing the ICT training provided to incubator staff and clients; (iii) using ICT to provide informational resources relevant to starting and growing new women-owned businesses, helping women entrepreneurs to learn from each other, and enabling women-owned small-businesses to take advantage of the internet; and (iv) using our website to summarize best practices on starting and growing empowerment- and employment-oriented business incubators, for the benefit of others who may be interested in adapting these models to their local conditions. This project with a duration period of 18 months, and prolong the duration by 26 months. Project Milestones To Date: Proposal submitted to infoDev Incubator Initiative for RFP 2. on 17 Feb.,2003; Ministry of Finance signs infoDev contract on behalf of TWBI on 23 Jun.2003; Agreed date of project inception on 1Sep.2003; public announcement of business plan competition on 8 Mar.,2004; TWBI improved the ICT infrastructure in Sep. 2004; Improved the TWBI staff and incubated enterprises in Mar.2005; Developed and enrich the Tianjin Women's Business Web from Sep.2003 to today.

Type of project organisation:

This project was organized by the information for development program(infoDev) of the World Bank which focused on how information and communication technologies (ICT) can help to combat poverty and promote opportunity, empowerment and economic growth in developing countries. The prime owners of the project is infoDev.

Target organisations:

Women SMEs

Transferability:

The model of TWBI can apply elsewhere,under the soupport of Tianjin Municipal Government Tianjin Women's Federation will cooperate "Jinlong Women's Business Incubator" with Gansu province to disseminate model of TWBI in West-China.

Future ?expected development:

With the support form InfoDev grant, TWBI has greatly leveraged ICT and basically achieved the original aims. However, problems still remain. New ICT strategy and more efforts are needed to deepen the ICT influence on woman's business incubation and target group. Although the recognition of internet by most clients is improved, there is still a distance from our anticipation. We hope to construct and implement an E-commerce platform to help women have the opportunity to develop their skills and abilities, to improve entrepreneurship and employability prospects, and to interact with a group of like-minded women. Provide deep ICT skills and e-commerce training for 100 women entrepreneurs, change them into professional e-commerce entrepreneurs and explore training teaching material aim at SMEs and enlarge the scope of the beneficial group. Develop chinese Women Development website to deliver comprehensive service to women group nationally, and to improve communication channels and encourage collaboration internationally. Target groups will be able to access a series of service in the area of financial support, loaning application, commerce building, expertise consulting, and incubator training. Disseminate the model of TWBI in west-china to establish Jin Long Women's Business Incubator.