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Backing Women Entrepreneurs in a Time of Change (w/ Debbie Watkins)

by Steve Stine

This week (and every week) we celebrate women, and women entrepreneurs in particular. Increasingly, female founders are launching new and innovative ventures with growing support from investor communities that for too long have been male-biased. Don’t believe me? Look at the numbers. From wage inequality, to promotions, to venture funding and social stigmas, women have had an uphill battle.

The situation is particularly depressing in the poorest countries and among the least educated. Patriarchal societies are alive and well and for a woman to succeed financially or professional it takes an added level of luck, grit, and tenacity. Money helps too. And in markets the world over, women have a harder time securing credit or receiving funding than their male counterparts.

One Singapore-based start-up hopes to make a difference. LUCY, a self-described “neo-bank” plans to provide the tools, network, and eventually the credit, to help entrepreneurial women succeed. I spoke with co-Founder and CEO Debbie Watkins. She spent years working with women in poverty-striken markets before pulling together a group of inspirational women and backers to offer their sisters in the field a helping hand.

I’m also pleased to announce that beginning this week Inside Asia has a new sponsor. Quilt AI is a mission-first technology company that helps large organizations use the Internet more purposefully. It’s looking to reverse fractures in society and generate empathy, while helping organizations understand their consumers and beneficiaries much better. Quilt works with amazing organizations including Amazon, Twitter, The Gates Foundation, and The World Bank. But what got my attention is their pro bono work in gender equity and climate action – giving time and money to causes they care about and in service to the planet. Inside Asia is pleased to be associated with Quilt AI. For more information, do check them out at Quilt(dot)AI.