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Beijing 2022 and Women report shows 70% women-led MSBs in the culture and tourism sectors anticipate business opportunities from the Olympics Winter Games

·9 min read

70% of MSBs believe the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 will benefit their business and aid recovery from the pandemic

BEIJING, Sept. 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Visa has joined hands with China Women's Development Foundation (CWDF) and Beijing Sport University (BSU) to release the "Beijing 2022 and Women"—Baseline Research Report on Women-Led Micro and Small Businesses (MSBs) in the culture and tourism sectors. Representatives and guests witnessing the report unveiling and participating in the discussion are from World Tourism Alliance (WTA), World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF), Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (BOCOG), Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism, the Publicity Department of Zhangjiakou Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China, Zhangjiakou Municipal Bureau of Culture, Radio, Television and Tourism, Bank of China and Airbnb. The research was designed and compiled by BSU and Visa teams with data collection via questionnaire distributed by CWDF.

Serving as the first-phase baseline research of Beijing 2022 and Women Program (The Program) led by Visa, the report provided an in-depth understanding of women small businesses located in the host cities of the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games - Yanqing, Beijing and Zhangjiakou, Hebei. The report outlined the developmental status of women-led MSBs, their expectations for the Olympics, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their businesses and the subsequent needs that have arisen to help them to recover from the pandemic. It also covered the benefits from the opportunities in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei regional integration and the construction of the Beijing-Zhangjiakou Sports, Culture and Tourism Belt delivered by Beijing 2022.

Group photo of the guests
Group photo of the guests

As an international sporting event, Beijing 2022 will not only bring business growth to women-led MSBs in the event zones, but also help them to shape their brand image, enhance service quality, renovate hardware facilities and broaden development horizons. This provides a great opportunity to align with international standards that uplift the MSBs' capabilities in receiving inbound travelers and catering to their needs. With the aim of meeting the real demands of women business owners and empowering female entrepreneurs, the research provided facts and data reference to better optimise empowerment mechanisms and course design as well as spark the thoughts for the path about how to boost sustainable social and economic development through large-scale sports events.

Staying optimistic about opportunities brought by Beijing 2022 and looking forward to more engagement channels

The report showed that 70% of the women small businesses agree with, and look forward to, the development opportunities brought by Beijing 2022 while 51.1% believe they can attract greater numbers of domestic and foreign tourists, thereby increasing sales. However, 29.7% did not know what channels they could connect to and 24.9% believe they are excluded from the Olympic procurement system due to their small business size. The report also indicated that only 12.1% accept foreign cards, resulting in an unsatisfactory payment experience for foreign tourists. At the same time, 34.2% of MSBs said they were unclear about the installation and use of payment terminals. Survey findings showed that it's difficult for MSBs in the culture and tourism sectors to be included in the Olympic procurement system directly, women business owners can uplift themselves and actively participate in projects initiated by large enterprises. The MSBs within the greater Beijing area can work together to create an inclusive and diversified ecosystem. In addition, it is suggested that MSBs need to be prepared to serve foreign tourists in terms of hardware such as foreign card acceptance and soft skill such as foreign language ability and service level.

Lacking digital capabilities, expansion restricted in operations and marketing

The findings showed that MSB owners are still inexperienced in the use of digital management tools and online marketing. About 70% have not yet adopted digital bookkeeping, of which 44.9% were "worried about how to handle digital tools" and 35.1% were "worried about the high costs of such tools." In terms of marketing, only 32.1% of businesses have adopted online marketing methods, while 29.3% lack professional promotion talents. Moreover, the use of Internet marketing by MSBs is still in its infancy. They also lack professional talents and have barriers to access industry information. With that, the program was designed to help MSBs to equip the ability in using digital tools and platforms in marketing, financial management and financial service, and support the business better realize digital transformation.

Limited financing methods, strong need to deepen inclusive financing capabilities

According to the survey, women-led MSBs hold relatively single type of assets, have limited financing methods and investment from financial and social channels. Some 48.1% said they have almost no assets and the others said their assets mainly consist of cash, bank deposits and real estate. In addition, only 25.6% have applied for bank loans, including those who were rejected by banks. The remaining 74.4% said their corporate finance source is either funded from themselves or their relatives and friends. Many women business owners said they are facing financing difficulties, especially due to pandemic impact. In order to support MSBs' post-pandemic recovery, with alignment of national policies, it's suggested that commercial banks should continue financial services and products innovation, and promote financial knowledge and services targeting MSBs.

The report also proposed suggestions and policy measures based on the analysis of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, considerations of MSBs' needs, their strengths and challenges, for the purpose of further empowering MSB owners. They are listed as follows:

  • Government support and guidance - the report recommended improving coordination mechanisms, optimising government services and establishing the unique advantages of local brands, contributing to the development of local MSBs in the culture and tourism sector.

  • Industry associations - the report recommended that industry associations should proactively guide MSBs to upgrade production means, enhance innovation capabilities and integrate resources to help them overcome difficulties.

  • MSB owners – due to outbound travel restrictions, the report recommended MSBs to seize the great opportunities of the market transformation and develop a series of diversified tourism products that meet the demand for tourists in the post-pandemic era.

It is also found that women business owners value the equal importance of family relationships and their careers. More than 80% work more than eight hours a day, and 21.8% work more than 11 hours a day. Family satisfaction has the greatest impact on the overall job satisfaction of women-led MSB owners. To that extent, women entrepreneurs have become an important driving force for the coordinated development of the economy and society.

The Vice Chairman and Secretary General of CWDF, Zhang Jianmin, said: "As a national-level 5A charity organisation that focuses on women and families, it is an inescapable responsibility for CWDF to enhance the quality of female entrepreneurs and thus ensure their sustainability. CWDF will continue to promote the development of women, the economy and society, taking the opportunity of Beijing 2022 to empower female MSB owners."

Zhang Jianmin, Vice Chairman and Secretary General of CWDF
Zhang Jianmin, Vice Chairman and Secretary General of CWDF

The Secretary General of the World Tourism Alliance, Liu Shijun, said: "Beijing 2022 and Women program is closely linked to the tendencies and the national strategy, focusing to understand the special needs and challenges of women, with combined advantages of BSU, CWDF and Visa. Leveraging opportunities brought by Beijing 2020, we will vigorously play a role in advancing regional coordinated development and poverty alleviation. And the latter is also one of the three missions of the World Tourism Alliance. I hope that the World Tourism Alliance can collaborate on the program to help reach the goals of sustainable development of the United Nations and women-led MSBs."

Liu Jianjun, Secretary General of the World Tourism Alliance
Liu Jianjun, Secretary General of the World Tourism Alliance

Gu Haoning, Deputy Head of Marketing, BOCOG, said: "As the worldwide partner of The Olympic Partners (TOP) Program since 1986, Visa has been leading in innovation globally. Today, Visa took the lead in launching this large-scale social impact program 'Beijing 2022 and Women' and joined hands with CWDF and BSU to actively explore ways to uplift women entrepreneurs. I believe that, through this event, more sponsors of Beijing 2022 will join the program and work together to convey the voice of China and share China's experiences."

Gu Haoning, Deputy Head of Marketing, BOCOG
Gu Haoning, Deputy Head of Marketing, BOCOG

The Vice President of BSU, Zhang Jian, said: "Through these scientific, reasonable and extensive survey and in-depth interviews, we hope to provide women-led MSBs with more targeted empowerment measures. The program is also a part of the important content for BSU to implement national strategies and to serve Beijing 2022. In the future, the BSU team will continue to offer academic and intellectual support to improve the professionalism and influence of the program."

Zhang Jian, Vice President of BSU
Zhang Jian, Vice President of BSU

Shirley Yu, Group General Manager of Visa Greater China, said: "Beijing 2022 will be a driving force of economic growth in sectors such as sports, tourism, and culture. As the backbone of the national economy, women-led MSBs will benefit from opportunities brought by Beijing 2022 and power the local economy. Visa has been a Top Partner of the Olympic Games for over 30 years and is committed to supporting inclusive growth and sustainable development in China and globally. Visa will continue to invest resources and technology, leverage international experiences, business capabilities and global network to promote the development of women entrepreneurs, contribute values to the inclusive and sustainable development in the host cities of Beijing 2022."

Shirley Yu, Group General Manager of Visa Greater China
Shirley Yu, Group General Manager of Visa Greater China

Representing the participating members in Beijing 2022 and Women program, Ms. He Yuling, stressed: "Innovative marketing and effective publicity provided by the program have turned around the fortunes of MSBs in the current tourism industry". Ms. He. Yuling, President of the Yanqing Guishui Women's Handicraft Development Association and founder of the Beijing Guishui Ecologic Restaurant, further added: "Training courses have assisted MSBs in the handicraft industry to enhance design quality and integrate handicrafts into homestay (bed and breakfast) visits. In the future, we hope Yanqing's handicraft industry will seize the opportunities of Beijing 2022 to expand the businesses. As a homestay business owner, I hope that we can welcome and receive more tourists during Beijing 2022."

"Beijing 2022 and Women" trainee representative He Yuling sharing her experience
"Beijing 2022 and Women" trainee representative He Yuling sharing her experience

Beijing 2022 and Women Program is designed for Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, led by Visa and supported by China Women's Development Foundation and Beijing Sport University. Since July 2020, the program has carried out 12-week empowerment training courses for 350 female MSB owners in Zhangjiakou and Yanqing, aiming to help them solve practical problems encountered in the development process with effective training content, flexible and interactive learning methods, diversified resources and a multi-level incentive mechanism. The program also aims to empower women-led MSBs to better benefit from opportunities brought by Beijing 2022. The goal is to cover more than 5,000 women-led small businesses by 2022 and contribute to the inclusive and sustainable growth of host cities.