Improving the Social Value of Knowledge for Women Entrepreneurs

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Date Published:
December 9, 2010
Contribution:
Community Contribution

Describe The Approaches Utilized To Measure / Assess This KM Initiative: 

To evaluate the initiative we used the self assessment tool for NGO’s through a SWOT exercise which consists in four steps: 1) Analyze the NGO’s capacities, 2) Do the SWOT exercise, 3) Make a strategic plan, 4) Implement, monitor and evaluate. As part of our strategic plan we start with a competitive internal and external analysis that gives us the SWOT matrix in order to establish the problems that we face during the project and also determine our potential. This matrix must be taken into consideration when developing their work, serving as a guide. We started with 20 businesses led by women considered dynamic and with an important future perspective arising from this new tool during 2008-2010 and we plan to continue with a second phase during 2011.The project is based on four types of specific actions aimed at: skills training, career guidance, motivation and communication, and the compartment of experience and support. With the goal of achieving effective implementation of this project we decided to: 1.-Make a situation analysis of the community which seeks to establish training needs knowledge and skills of the same. 2.-To conduct a survey of common challenges in order to provide advice and appropriate support for each target group of women. 3.-To carry out a program evaluation through monitoring and reporting to estimate the actions implemented. 4.-To organize activities complementary to the target audience giving the chance to put into action the knowledge and leadership skills incorporated. We also organized an Entrepreneurial Fair: aiming to foster confidence within women who start their business projects, so that they can exhibit their products or services and try direct contact with customers and elaborate a data bank of women entrepreneurs. ASSESSMENT: The key performance indicator (KPI) will measure the progress of women entrepreneurs involved in this project taking into account four factors: Internal processes, growth and learn, target public and community. Monitoring of these indicators, together with the reports filled by members of the project will enable us to realize the strategic goals of practical and effective way.

What Do You Think Are The Main Unanswered Questions Or Challenges Related To This Field Of Work?: 

The global economic crisis is still unfolding, raising questions about whether the rights acquired by women in the labor market may be maintained. Furthermore, analyzing the impact of economic adjustments and past recessions has occurred we can better understand how millions of women and girls around the world will suffer as the crisis forward. Our response to the growing need to develop female talent through improving their capacities and enhance their leadership skills will provide a practical approach to boost the action. The challenge is to generate a "vision socially constructed” which mobilizes and directs operations towards the creation of create equal opportunities for all in the workplace.

What Was The Purpose Or Motivation For Assessing This KM Initiative?: 

Our motivation is to respond to the growing need to develop female talent through fostering women participation in professional training, in order to enter or re-enter workforce. Our purpose is to trigger optimization of labor methods through training and technical assistance of women.

What Would You Do Differently Next Time?: 

In order to improve the assessment, we found that social environment affected the project a lot, so in the future we are going to use other key indicators to measure the public goal, the community, besides the internal process and the growth and learning achieved as shown in the graphic in the document. We want to continue with the initiative during 2011 and create a second level of training focusing on more marketing and management areas rather than the starting up business.

What Were The Most Important Lessons Learned About The Assessment Process?: 

We learned from the use of KPIs that helped us to define and measure progress toward our goals of training women entrepreneurs. In order to choose the best indicators that reflected better our goals and were the key to our success we did a three stages process: 1.-Identify the Perspective of the KPI and we decided to focus on internal processes, growth & learn, target public and community as we shown in the graph. 2.-Determine the Category which means the form of measure we should take (percent, statistics, ratio, ecc.) and we decided to use the percentage (%). Then we had to standardize the measure so that comparisons across groups were consistent. 3.-Establish the Focus that will reflect the selection of KPIs and that covered things like time horizon (long term-short term), planning (strategic-tactical), type (quantitative-qualitative), view (internal-external), level (process-outcome) and purpose (planning-control). In our case our time horizon was long term, the planning was strategic, the type was qualitative, and the view internal, the level was outcome and the purpose planning. The use of these KPI as a performance management tool gave everyone a clear picture of what was important and what we needed to make happen. It also, worked as a “carrot” because everyone has to focus on meeting or even exceeding them. Achieving consistency across the metrics being gathered becomes problematic when you have several sources from which the data is collected and too much data become confusing. Please see attached document for more detail information about the assessment process.

What Advice Would You Give To Others Based On Your Experience?: 

I will advice others to implement a Knowledge Profiling (KP) to identify, document and enable access to knowledge for future use. Respect our project: If you are going to use KPIs as a tool is very important that they must be realistic, direct to factors than matter and make a difference, focused more on managing resources than costs, supportive to organizational learning and committed to provide action oriented feedback. If you decide to use it as a carrot you have to be careful that the KPI doesn’t encourage competition because it will destroy team work.

Describe The KM Initiative: 

The small and medium enterprises originate in Argentina 7 out of 10 jobs, and in the country there are around 50 thousand small and medium businesses a year that generate more than half of the jobs. According to data gathered by the Sme’s Institute of the Nation small and micro enterprises, 33% generates its business from industry, and 67% from trade, services and tourism. Considering businesses managed by women 54% is concentrated in the sector of services, followed by the manufacturing industry (18%) and then the sector of trade, catering and hotel management (10%), the rest is distributed among the following sectors: farming, construction, financial services, communication and transport. We found that some of the women, who face the challenge of starting a business in Buenos Aires, are housewives and they develop their enterprises focused on their personal knowledge and skills, without an adequate training.

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