December 2016 | Business View Magazine

14 15 EXECUTIVE VIEW trepreneurship Day (WED) movement; reaching out to four billion women across the globe to be catalysts of change, and to uplift the 250 million girls living in poverty.WED is committed to amplifying that message and expanding the opportunities for women in business around the world. The data speaks for itself: women perform 66% of the world’s work, yet only earn 10% of the world’s income. At the same time, women account for 85% of consumer purchases and control $20 trillion in worldwide spending. Recognizing the need for action, Diamond set out to create a simplified movement to empow- er women in business around the world. An effort to balance the slate. Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (WED) was formed in 2014, after Diamond’s first-hand experience volunteering with the Adelante Foundation– a self-sus- taining microfinance institution and non-profit organization headquartered in La Ceiba, Honduras. The Foundation works with impoverished women in rural Honduras, providing them with short-term loans to invest in small businesses. With access to funds, the clients become confident and self-sustaining; creating solutions to lessen poverty in their communities. “Of course,” said Diamond,“even before my experience in Honduras, I under- stood that women worldwide have historically been underpaid, undervalued, underrepresented, underfunded, and underestimated…and still are. I knew I had to play a role in trying to improve this situation. Just a single $100 startup loan– provided by one woman to help another – could make the difference for a mother who wants to send her children to school. Every woman and girl across the globe should be given the chance to follow their dreams. Letting female entrepreneurs help one another is an important step in making that a reality.” Three years ago,Wendy Diamond saw and embraced the potential of high- lighting the Honduran initiative on a global scale.“Based on what I learned at the Adelante Foundation, I decided to focus my efforts on empowering women entre- preneurs around the globe by bringing them together for an educational event: Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. The first event convened on November 19th, 2014 at the United Nations in New York City. The panel discussions and program elements were streamed to 114 countries globally, and a powerful movement to inspire, empower, celebrate, and support female entrepreneurs was launched.” Today, the WED event is celebrated in 144 countries, and this year included the launch of , an online portal that allows consumers to shop from more than 70 top fashion retailers. A percentage of each purchase helps fund microloans for women living in poverty around the globe. Diamond speaks from the heart when saying,“You shop, she thrives. This gives us another platform to continue our mission of investing in women’s futures by empowering them financially.” WED ignites women leaders, inno- vators, and entrepreneurs to initiate startups, drive economic expansion, and advance communities worldwide. To kick off the inaugural celebration of #ChooseWOMEN Wednesday,WED host- ed its third annual event at the United Nations in New York City on Friday, No- vember 18th. This year’s event was cele- brated in 144 countries, and at 111 top universities and colleges internationally. The goal being to inspire four billion women across the globe to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams,while uplifting the 250 million girls worldwide who live in poverty. A high point of the festivities came whenWendy Diamond and the WED team rang the closing bell at the NewYork Stock Exchange. In Diamond’s words,“I think of its tolling as a celebra- tion of women worldwide.” Notable influencers delighted attend- ees with their insight, as they took part in panels throughout the day.With over 400 hundred women and men gathered together, the WED event was a powerful occasion to make life-changing connec- tions, celebrate women in business, and learn from the greatest, brightest and most kind-hearted minds. From discus- sions about the importance of diversity in the corporate sector from HP’s Chief Marketing Officer Antonio Lucio and HSN, Inc.’s CEO Mindy Grossman, to advice from USANetwork founder (and first woman to serve as network president in television history) Kay Koplovitz,who has invest- ed over seven billion dollars in wom- en-owned businesses, the atmosphere was charged with positive energy…all in the name of empowering women everywhere. ONLINE 3rd Annual Global Women’s Entrepreneurship Day The Lowdown on Microloans “Women pay backmicroloans at a 97% rate of return, and 90% of the money earned by these women is used to educate their children and provide for their families.” A recent Kauffman Foundation report found that women make up 40.6 percent of new entrepreneurs; the highest level in two decades. They are also more likely to start businesses to capitalize on an op- portunity, rather than from necessity, but the hurdles are many and large. Access to capital is a major challenge. Most wom- en-owned businesses are underfunded, and loans tend to have a higher interest rate than for men. WED is positioned to play a decisive role in changing this dynamic and enabling more women to break new ground and spur economic growth in the marketplace. By uniting around common principles,WED celebrates the unwavering positives women bring to the global economy, empowering and supporting future generations of busi- ness leaders–all of which drives successful and confident women. That’s why microloans specifically for women entrepreneurs can be life-chang- ers. A WED spokesperson explained, “a microloan is a very small, short-term loan at low interest, most commonly used to help a start-up company or self-employed person. WED is hon- ored to support leading microfinance organizations around the world that provide impoverished women with these essential microloans to start their own businesses. This kind of return is life changing for entire communities. When you shop on, each purchase made will contribute a percentage of the sale to these organiza- tions to help fund microloans that support and empower women across the globe.” Wendy Diamond’s short bio describes her as a social entrepreneur, humanitari- an, founder of Animal Fair Media and an Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipient. But that barely touches the surface. In truth, this is a woman with a captivating spirit and soul that lights up a room like, well, the brightest diamond. Her passion for animal welfare and humankind in general is visionary. Forever giving–no strings attached– she unites women, and men, on a global platform to make the world a better place for all. And people are taking notice. Diamond first launched Animal Fair after learning that 12 million animals were euthanized every year. That number is down to four million. She introduced celebrities and pop culture to the animal rescue cause with outstanding results. Diamond now incorporates a similar strategy in the Women’s En- Wendy Diamond, Founder of WED A Jewel in Our Midst