As part of the ongoing effort to support diversity, equity, and inclusion, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) recently created the Council on Advancing Women in Business to advise EXIM on how to better reach women business leaders and foster its equity goals.
Three members of the Council shared various stories and tips on how women can expand their businesses in the global market during EXIM’s webinar to celebrate Women’s History Month. Opportunities are not necessarily the challenge; it is the access to resources and information that can make a difference. Although one in five small businesses are owned by women, there is a financial gap of opportunities.
Council Member Nerissa Naidu, Board Chair at CreditXpert, spoke on the number of boards she has served on, helping them achieve a more international presence. She quoted former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who said that “women belong in all the places where decisions are being made.” Being on a board is great, Narissa said, but being part of the core decisions impacting a company and its livelihood are just as important, by getting a seat at the table. The balance and holistic views that women can bring to a company cannot be overstated.
Council Member Latanya Mapp Frett, President & CEO of the Global Fund for Women, interviewed Kimberly Bryant, Founder & CEO of Ascend Ventures and the Black Innovation Lab. Kimberly noted that they provide resources to women-led organizations in 176 countries around the world — having provided start-up funds to more than 5,000 companies totaling approximately $250 million. Kimberly also touched on the importance of navigating different cultures and building relationships.
Council Co-Chair Nicole Elam, President & CEO of the National Bankers Association, interviewed Rahama Wright, Founder & CEO of Shea Yeleen and a member of the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA). Starting her entrepreneurial journey as a Peace Corps volunteer, Rahama would headline her journey as “amplifying the role of Black women and Black women in the diaspora.” One piece of advice she shares is to make sure when you’re thinking about access to capital that you do your research because not all capital is going to be the right size for you. Understand the financial model and structure of your business: What type of mechanism have you put in place to be able to receive capital?
Each year, during Women’s History Month, the nation celebrates the vital role women have played throughout American History with their tireless dedication and unwavering belief in the promise that the American dream holds for all Americans. Here at EXIM, we pay tribute to all women who have long been at the forefront when it comes to advancing business, innovation, and advocacy for greater equity and access — throughout Women’s History Month and beyond!
To help spread the word about EXIM financing to underserved communities, EXIM’s Minority and Women-Owned Business Division (MWOB) works closely with organizations that have a minority trade focus to create opportunities for U.S. companies that are owned by women, minorities, veterans, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ+ community along with rural and startup businesses.
To find out how EXIM can help your business compete in the global marketplace, schedule a free consultation with a member of the MWOB team and launch your export journey today.