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How the Women's Entrepreneurship Day Organization is empowering women in business

Wendy Diamond, Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Organization CEO and Founder, joined Yahoo Finance Live to discuss how the organization is empowering women in business.

Video Transcript

- Let's take a look at female led businesses. There's recent data out from PitchBook and it actually showed that VC investment in female founded companies, it's on the rise. But that's only after it faced a setback during the pandemic. So still certainly a lot of work that needs to be done. Let's talk about what can be done with Wendy Diamond, Founder and CEO of Women's Entrepreneurship Day organization.

Wendy, it's great to have you. I know you're on a mission to empower women in the business. You held National Women's Entrepreneurship Day on Friday, a huge event. Talking about things that can be done and should be done in order to help women who have founded their own business. Give us a sense, though, of what the current business environment is like for female founders.

WENDY DIAMOND: Well, there was just a report by Oxfam International that shows just like in 2020 alone, women around the world lost 64 million jobs. OK, that's like-- that's the equivalent of 5% of the total jobs held by women globally. Also, due to this because of the pandemic and everything, you know, women and minorities been the hardest hit. So, really when you look at these figures, and this was Oxfam International, you know, they also have $800 billion in earnings that these women lost, right? And that's a figure that's more than like 98 countries' GDP.

So, it's so important as you see, with these stats alone, why we really need to uplift women in business. And so that was why I created Women's Entrepreneurship Day in 2013. Because at that time, you know, 1% of venture dollars were going towards women founders. You know, women around the world with microloans we're paying them back at a 98% rate. And when you looked at the data, 90% of that money went to educate their children, to provide for their families that uplift, you know, the communities.

You know, we thought by creating this day in the world and then we went around the world and we're now in 144 countries. US Congress recognizes our day every year, so does Governor Kathy Hochul, Mayor Garcetti in Los Angeles, we just were proclaimed an official day in Gabon in Africa. So when you look at just creating a simplified movement to enable everyone to realize the important facts and data of why it's so important to empower women in business.

- And what do you think women can do for themselves to help empower them as they move along and look towards entrepreneurship rather than a 9 to 5 job?

WENDY DIAMOND: Well, first of all, there's never a better time to be a woman entrepreneur, right? Because there are so many opportunities like all the companies now have incubators. There's so many ways-- you know, in a lot of cities. You know, when we launched Women's Entrepreneurship Day in New York, Mayor de Blasio at the time, launched we NYC. You know, Mayor Garcetti in Los Angeles, launched a huge program also to find women entrepreneurs in Los Angeles.

So if people could really look at their cities, where they live, they'll see a lot of opportunities by the governments. But also a lot of, you know, businesses and corporations have a lot of initiatives to support women as well. And, you know, when you look at it, like if people just looked at like, you know, where are we spending our money? And they just supported women founders, you know, they-- and simple things like that or mentor women, you would see a lot more advancement towards women and economically supporting them.

- Wendy, we've had guests on who talk about funding new ventures that are led by women. You brought up the microloans. And I can remember doing stories more than you 10 or 15 years ago about the phenomenon of the microloans, not only in the United States, but worldwide. And how important that is. Where is that market right now? And how does your organization help facilitate that? Because those $1,000 to $5,000 loans really do help lift people out of poverty.

WENDY DIAMOND: Right. I mean, so this-- our whole foundation was started, I ended up in Honduras on vacation not realizing it was the murder capital of the world at the time and I ended up volunteering for an organization called the Adelante in Honduras in a place called La Saba. And what we saw there, you know, what I saw there personally, was just how these women literally got these small microloans and were able to start their own little businesses. And it literally uplifted the entire community.

So there's organizations, like we've all heard of Grameen, you know, and there's also we're partners with Opportunity International which are really big organizations. I mean, like, you know, Grameen has a big presence here in the United States. Andrew Young is running that. And you see all this around the world that it's literally incredible. Because, you know, bringing traceability, transparency, and understanding by providing hand up and not a handout is really going to be the real way to lift these people out of-- lift women out of poverty.

- Wendy, one thing that you are doing that you're a very big advocate for, I should say, is the use of crypto and blockchain technology. And how that can be used to help the lives of women across the world in a huge, meaningful way. When you take a look at how this area-- how this sector has the potential to grow over the next 5 to 10 years, how can female founders-- how can they best position themselves in order to benefit from this movement?

WENDY DIAMOND: Well, you know, first of all, why was Bitcoin created, you know? My belief is, you know, it went back to 2008 after the housing financial crisis, right? And a group of really smart people decided, let's create this name Satoshi Nakamoto and bring Bitcoin out into the world. And the whole meaning behind it was to create peer to peer transactions to enable people not to have to rely on banks or the government, right? And to help the 2 and 1/2 billion people unbanked, which are mainly women, right?

And so, when you look at places with high inflation like Zimbabwe, Botswana, Nigeria, and Venezuela especially, there are so-- millions of people are using Bitcoin on a day to day level, especially women. So we decided this year we're working on a project that we're going to be launching very shortly to fund 100,000 women in Afghanistan with crypto. And we partnered with a company called Open Grants that is bringing traceability and transparency to the trillions of dollars of non diluted funding in this world. And then we partnered with Stellar Coin.

And so, we will enable them to get receipts. They're going to download wallets, it takes three minutes. They can use a flip phone or a mobile phone. In Afghanistan, there's 40 million people in Afghanistan, 20 million of them have mobile phones, we guesstimaet about 5 million are women. We partnered with 41 organizations on the ground in Afghanistan. We hear about everyone leaving. But there's so, you know, I forget there's so many people there, right?

And so, this is a project that we're working on. We've already have 1,000 people that have downloaded the wallet. And we hope by-- we're estimating about three more months we'll have the full amount distributed.

- Wendy Diamond, founder and CEO of Women's Entrepreneurship Day organization. Thanks so much for taking the time to join us.