Facebook Brings Female Entrepreneur Campaign To Taiwan

Facebook Brings Female Entrepreneur Campaign To Taiwan
Photo Credit: ShutterStock.com / 達志影像

What you need to know

Facebook has brought its 'She Means Business' campaign to Taiwan, but a lot more needs to be done to level the playing field.

Despite the weight of social and family expectations, women are building businesses and shattering the glass ceiling in Taiwan, and Facebook wants to help.

Facebook is bringing its "She Means Business" campaign to Taiwan and working with local technology-based non-profit organizations Taiwan Startup Stadium (TSS) and the Taiwan chapter of Girls in Tech, to set up classes and workshops to equip women with the skills to grow their businesses.

However, women still face systemic barriers while trying to make it in the business field, especially in the startup scene, Jane Shih (石舫亘), managing director of Girls in Tech Taiwan, told The News Lens International.

“Many women crumble under social expectations, and over half the female workforce leave their jobs when they get married and have children,” said Shih. For these women, it is almost impossible to return to work.

This is where the partnership between Facebook, TSS and Girls in Tech Taiwan comes in.

The three companies want to build a network of resources and mentorships to give women the chance to establish and grow their careers.

Startups that include women founders tend to be more profitable. Shih agrees that the only way companies can fulfill their promise to make products that people want is to include a female perspective, and that is not going to happen unless women are in the boardroom.

A good example is Maggie Chen (陳美娟), the founder of Wonderful Food, an online company that sells local organic produce.

“I used to work at a tech company, and I was really busy. But I needed to find healthy ingredients for my growing son,” said Chen. She turned to the Internet, but couldn’t find a single site that sourced a wide variety of produce. So she decided to start her own company targeting working mothers.

Chen has also managed to use her gender to build trust with suppliers. When she first started contacting farmers, they were very wary because many of them had been cheated by retail agents before. Chen believes that because it was easier for her to empathize with these farmers, she managed to gain their trust.

“Now they even recommend their friends to us,” she says.

Dell ranked Taipei the 15th best city for female entrepreneurs this year, but Shih notes that Taiwan still has room for improvement. She thinks that Taiwan society has a very low tolerance for failure, and even lower for women. This means that they don’t take risks and often get passed over for promotions.

Shih also says there is a lack of a support network for women entrepreneurs in Taiwan.

“I didn’t know where to ask questions until I found a support group for female founders at a conference in the U.S. I think we really need to build one here.”

While the She Means Business campaign can provide the tools for women to build their businesses, Shih stresses that women need to take the initiative and be confident in what they want to do.

“Don’t let your gender limit you professionally, you have to believe that you deserve to take the lead and execute your plans,” Shih says.

First Editor: Olivia Yang
Second Editor: J. Michael Cole