(BPT) - Female entrepreneurs make up approximately 1/3 of all entrepreneurs worldwide, and it's always a great time to highlight, support and applaud women in business, in your community and across the globe.
Here are a few easy ways you can celebrate and support businesswomen and female entrepreneurs.
Shop women-owned businesses. Know about a restaurant, shop or service-oriented business in your area that's owned and operated by women entrepreneurs? (If you don't, do a little online research to find some.) Go out of your way to shop at their location, refer friends and family members to their businesses and be sure to let them know that you support their efforts in your community. Give them a boost by posting a positive review of their business on social media. Helping female-owned businesses thrive is a great way to empower women in your own backyard.
Mentor women and girls in your industry. Find ways to offer female students and younger employees a chance to learn more about educational and employment opportunities in your own field. Contact career counselors at high schools or local colleges and offer to let students shadow you at work, or give them a chance to do an informational interview with you to learn more about your business. Help them get connected within your business network and share your experiences. If your employer is willing, develop an internship or on-the-job training program to encourage and empower up-and-coming women in your industry.
Support companies actively involved in projects that empower women. Mars Wrigley Confectionery U.S. and Dove Chocolate have pledged $1 million to CARE, a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty, specifically to empower women in West Africa. Dove Chocolate and CARE partnered to empower women in the cocoa growing communities of Cote d'Ivoire after an assessment of women's involvement in West African cocoa farms found that women were not benefiting from cocoa production, even though they participate in more than half of cocoa-farming activities. The first stone was recently laid on a new marketplace for women-led businesses in the village of Gueyo, a centrally located commerce area nestled among the cocoa fields of Cote d'Ivoire. Consumers can help support these efforts, as $5 will be donated to CARE with every online purchase of qualifying Dove Chocolate Promises.
This year, find special ways to celebrate and support the women in your neighborhood and around the world who are working hard to create better lives for themselves, their families and their communities.