Inclusive TradeUnlocking Markets for Women- & Minority-Owned Small Businesses
Women- & minority-owned businesses are uniquely positioned to benefit from exporting. When these businesses export they are more productive, employ more workers and report higher than average earnings than their non-exporting counterparts. Still, these businesses account for a disproportionately small share of exporters.
What is inclusive trade?
An inclusive approach to trade seeks to ensure that traditionally underrepresented groups, including women and racial and ethnic minorities involved in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), can leverage the benefits and opportunities generated by engaging in global markets to the greatest possible extent.
Governments can take steps to craft trade policies and promotion programs that prioritize the inclusion of women, indigenous and minority business leaders, entrepreneurs and workers and maximize their ability to benefit from global markets, creating more resilient businesses and communities.
Women-Owned Businesses & Trade
Women-owned SMEs that export pay more, are more productive, employ more workers and report higher than average sales.
- Women-owned businesses that export their goods and services average $14.5 million in receipts, compared to $117,036 for women-owned businesses that do not export.
- An average of 42 people are employed by women-owned exporters, compared to an average of eight employees at their non-exporting counterparts.
- Women-owned exporters are 1.2 times more productive on average than male-owned business exporters and 3.5 times more productive than women-owned businesses that do not export.
- Women-owned exporters report 1.6 times higher than the average pay at non-exporting women-owned businesses.
- An average of $16.3 million in sales is reported by women-owned exporters, compared to $816,000 in average sales for non-exporting women-owned businesses.
Minority-Owned Businesses & Trade
Minority-owned SMEs derive significantly more revenue from overseas markets than non-minority businesses.
- Minority-owned businesses are 2 times more likely to export than non-minority-owned businesses.
- Minority-owned businesses are 6 times more likely to conduct business in a language other than English and 3 times more likely to generate 100 percent of their revenues from exporting compared to non-minority-owned firms, regardless of size.
- Exports accounted for 14.4 percent of total receipts of minority-owned exporters compared to 5.4 percent of total receipts for non-minority-owned exporters.
- Minority-owned exporters average $7.4 million in receipts, compared to $141,776 for minority-owned non-exporting firms.
- On average, minority-owned exporters employ 21 workers, compared to minority-owned non-exporters’ seven.
- Minority-owned exporters are 3.3 times more productive than minority-owned non-exporters.
- Black-owned businesses relied on global markets for an average of 45 percent more revenue than white-owned businesses during the pandemic.
Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, Ownership Characteristics of Classifiable U.S. Exporting Firms, Issued June 2012;
“The Strategic Case for Women and Trade,” The Obama White House Archives;
“Want To Grow Your Minority Business Enterprise? Look Abroad,” Minority Business Development Agency;
Global, Digital & Resilient: How digital tools are powering U.S. small businesses’ global engagement amid COVID-19, Global Innovation Forum, February 2021.
Empowering women through a more equitable trade system
Global From Day 1
Caribu is an innovative video calling app and educational platform that allows parents and grandparents to read, draw and play games with the children in their lives, from anywhere.
With materials in eight languages, the app attracts customers across the globe.
“Caribu has always had customers in 160+ countries, but we’re also seeing deeper penetration in many places around the world impacted by COVID-19,” shares CEO Maxeme Tuchman. Today, Caribu is reaching customers in more than 200 countries and territories.
“The only reason the app was able to grow globally was because of access to a variety of digital platforms. [Without them] we never would have entered the markets we did.”
– Maxeme Tuchman, CEO, Caribu
Success Abroad First
“My story is the story of a startup that went global completely by accident.”
Kavita Shukla, Founder and CEO of The FRESHGLOW Co. and inventor of FreshPaper, an innovative solution to the global challenge of food waste, saw early traction in foreign markets that helped her grow her business in America.
“Having customers internationally for me was, personally, a really big deal,” Shukla recalled, who notched customers in 35 countries early in her business journey.
“Going direct to global consumers, and showing that there was a market there and getting international press got us in front of distributors domestically.”
– Kavita Shukla, Founder & CEO, The FRESHGLOW Co
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