Ahead of International Women's Day, SberBusiness and Visa are launching Business Championship (Biznes-Pervenstvo), a joint campaign supporting women's entrepreneurship.
A study1 on barriers women face when transforming their business and taking it online was the first phase of the campaign. The results of the joint study will be used to establish a comprehensive educational program and a competition for entrepreneurs.
The data obtained through the study have already been used to determine the key challenges that small businesses have come across during the pandemic and to identify a need for additional knowledge and training to help women entrepreneurs grow their businesses more efficiently.
Key findings of the study
Almost one-half of women entrepreneurs who took their business online (47%) increased online sales during the pandemic to save their business, 40% launched their own website, and 69% started advertising and selling products through social media. Meanwhile, one out of three female entrepreneurs who increased sales volume due to their move online noted that online sales accounted for 30-60% of turnover, with 5% of women polled putting this figure at 80-90% and 7% of respondents only selling products online.
Zoomers and millennials quickest to move their businesses online
One out of five female entrepreneurs (20%) between 18 and 34 moved her business online during the pandemic. Half of women entrepreneurs (50%) worked online pre-quarantine, while another 11% plan to begin selling products and services on the internet shortly. A mere 18% of women polled said that they would not be reconfiguring their business to work on the e-commerce market. Only a third (33%) of female entrepreneurs over 55 sold products online pre-quarantine, with as few as 6% of them taking their business online during the pandemic. The majority (61%) plan to have online operations only when moving forward.
Which advantages to moving online did women entrepreneurs mention?
Understanding customer needs (54%), the effectiveness of ads on social media (49%), increased demand for company products and services (44%), and a rise in sales (35%) were the advantages of moving a business online mentioned by the survey participants. This is in no small part to do with the fact that going online allowed the entrepreneurs to partially resolve some of the important issues that they came up against during the pandemic: decreased demand for products and services and a drop in sales (57%), as well as declining profits when selling products through traditional channels (37%).
Which digital services for business management do women entrepreneurs use?
Online banking is the most popular digital tool for financial management among female entrepreneurs, with almost three quarters of women polled using it (73%). Business cards (51%) and online accounting services (48%) were also classified as online services in great demand.
Online workflow tools (56%), ready-made solutions for the configuration and management of publicity campaigns on social media (29%), and CRM services (23%) were named as the most sought-after tools for outsourcing business management by the study participants.
What have women entrepreneurs learned during the pandemic?
According to half of the female entrepreneurs surveyed (43%), additional knowledge is vital to ensure a business' success at all stages of development, while 14% noted that complementary business education was useful during the first six months of their business. Another 24% found complementary education indispensable for the first year post-launch.
The most popular topics taught in complementary business education programs were: business promotion on the internet and social media (54%), business strategies and growth (53%), and marketing and sales increase (53%). Over a third of the respondents (37%) completed additional education over the past year, with 94% finding the knowledge gained to be of use.
How do women entrepreneurs perceive the prospects for business growth in the near future?
Despite the fact that half of female entrepreneurs (51%) observed a decrease in their company's turnover during the pandemic, the majority remain optimistic about the prospects for growth in the coming year. Nearly half of the women surveyed (48%) expect an increase in turnover, and only 17% are pessimistic and think that further decline awaits their business this year.
Women entrepreneurs between 18 and 34 are more optimistic than the other age groups surveyed in the study: over half (58%) are certain that their company turnover will increase, with only 12% expecting a decrease. Meanwhile, one-third of women entrepreneurs over 55 (32%) expect business to improve, with almost three times as many respondents in this age group expecting it to worsen (30%).
E-commerce remains a top priority area as to enhancing operational efficiency over the next year. One-half of the women business owners interviewed (47%) believe that selling goods and services online will help make their businesses more profitable, and 38% said they'd create websites and social media groups to achieve this goal. Every fourth woman business owner (26%) believes that telework will help her company and make it more efficient.
Sber is excited to join Visa Business Championship, an international initiative to support women business owners. Experts claim, as representatives of one of the most active social groups women are the ones who might be the main drivers behind the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises in the country. Women opt for traditional business models, are less inclined to take risks and prefer to receive training before starting their businesses. I am confident that our joint efforts with Visa will help women business owners across the country to acquire the knowledge they need for purposes of successful business development.
Director of Digital Corporate Bank, Sberbank
We are extremely happy with the opportunity to join hands with our partners from SberBusiness and actually help women business owners revive and develop their businesses. Our study shows that moving online and using digital tools for financial and business process management has helped women business owners not only to cope with the impact of the pandemic, but also make their companies more efficient. At the same time, we see that almost one-half of the interviewed women business owners feel the need for additional education and skills that will help them work with digital services more effectively and feel more confident in the e-commerce market. Our collaborative campaign with SberBusiness should help women business owners fill this gap to advance their businesses better when moving forward.
Head of the department promoting business with Visa Russia, a strategic partner
SberBusiness is the Sber line of business for small businesses and self-employed citizens. SberBusiness makes technology accessible and opens up new opportunities for starting and developing a business, providing beginners and experienced business people with the widest range of financial, non-financial, and educational services.
The SberBusiness brand also includes SberBusiness Live, a media resource which helps business people find their niche, share experiences and best practices; and SberBusiness, an online banking website and app with a monthly corporate audience exceeding 2.9 million.
With the SberBusiness online banking, business owners access a full range of transactions with ruble payments, including transfers to cards held by individuals, operations with salary registers, corporate cards, and foreign economic activity. SberBusiness lets business owners apply for a loan and connect over 70 banking and non-banking services to develop and run a business.
The Visa-Sber campaign is part of She's Next, Empowered by Visa, encouraging the advancement of women-owned small businesses around the world. Launched in 2019, it runs in all regions where Visa has a footprint and is designed to support women business owners as they build, sustain and advance their businesses.
1 The study was commissioned by SberBusiness and Visa by the NAFI research center in February 2021. It involved 573 female entrepreneurs from 69 regions of Russia who own small and micro-sized businesses. The sample consists of companies according to their size (small and micro-sized businesses) and form of registration (companies and sole proprietors). Soft quotas were introduced for the scope of companies' operations, geography, and city type (cities with 1M+ residents, cities with a population of 100,000 to 1 million people).
Sberbank of Russia published this content on 04 March 2021 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 04 March 2021 15:02:05 UTC.