Monthly Archives

March 2013

International Women’s Day: Here’s What We Can Do

By | News, Rebecca Self

In honor of International Women’s Day, The Elders, a group of global leaders brought together by Nelson Mandela to promote peace and end suffering, posted on their facebook page:

At least 1 in 3 women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or abused.
What do you think is the best way to stop violence against women? Educating men; lobbying leaders to strengthen institutions; better support for women affected?

At the Trestle Group Foundation, we believe that empowering women entrepreneurs fuels economic opportunity, personal development and social progress. We’re a small group of individuals who’ve left successful careers in politics, management consulting and academia to work together with committed partners supporting women to build safer, stronger, sustainable communities around the world.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead

Economic Empowerment Serves Women, Children, Families, Communities 

International Women’s Day has been observed in numerous countries for over 100 years. The theme this year is ending violence against women. Economic empowerment must be a core component in any effort to end violence against women. As breadwinners, women’s value skyrockets and their voices soar. Working women invest 80% of their earnings into their families, having a multi-generational stabilizing effect at home and in their communities.

Women business owners and entrepreneurs serve as powerful role models showing others, including young girls, new possibilities for their lives and families. At the Trestle Group Foundation we’re honored to have first-hand experience every day with women entrepreneurs on the front lines of these social changes:

  • Luna Shamsuddoha is a role model who directs an award-winning software company, and has now created Bangladesh Women In Technology. She is shifting stereotypes about women, and encouraging women to build careers in IT.
  • In Tanzania, Fatma Riyami, Anna Matinde and Dina Bina shine as examples of what’s possible through entrepreneurship. They train, inspire and support women entrepreneurs through the Tanzania Women’s Chamber of Commerce.
  • Through Wrap Up Africa, Letha Sandison provides steady income and economic opportunity near the Uganda Cancer Institute, Uganda’s only cancer treatment facility.
  • Figen Cakir works together with her local municipality to provide access to markets for spinners and craftswomen in Golcuk, Turkey.
  • Nur Begen and Vijaya Pastala support organic farmers in their native Turkey and India, respectively.


Female entrepreneurs face predictable challenges, most frequently requesting support in three areas:

  •  Financial Analysis for more informed leadership decisions
  •  Marketing support
  • Access to capital and markets

At the Trestle Group Foundation, we’re working hard every day to create new ways to promote, empower and connect women entrepreneurs in developing markets with the resources, expertise and networks they need. With our six-month flagship partnership program, custom training offerings, and access to finance through partner organizations, we’re joining forces to empower women entrepreneurs, fueling economic opportunity, development and social progress. Program participants report increased confidence, clarity on the direction to go with their businesses and lives, and support to go to the next level.

We wish there wasn’t a need for International Women’s Day. We believe this is what we can do. We’re inspired by our partners, colleagues and cohort every day.