KAMPALA — According to the International Finance Corporation, globally, women are now starting businesses faster than men. A 2021 DHL Global Index found that Ugandan women are the most entrepreneurial globally, followed by Botswana and Ghana.
Despite progress in recent years, many women still face significant barriers to starting their businesses. These include a lack of capital, time, and the needed skills. An industry that subverts these barriers is direct selling. At least 74.4% of direct selling representatives are women.
Malou Caluza, the CEO of QNET, a global direct selling company, attributes this uptake to the nature of the direct selling industry and the barriers it shutters for women to prosper.
“More women around the world are turning direct selling into an opportunity for personal success for it leapfrogs barriers they face while offering balance for women seeking fulfilling careers,” she said.
In the developing world, especially in Africa and Asia, direct selling has proven a resilient model. With the penetration of mobile technology and e-commerce, younger women have discovered new ways to engage their networks and sell products.
Direct selling provides an attractive and flexible income opportunity for women who lost their jobs and those looking to make a supplemental income as micro-entrepreneurs and gig economy participants.
“Many businesses around the world use the direct selling business model to promote unique products and services in categories such as wellness and nutrition, personal and beauty care, home care products,” she explained.
The growth of direct selling creates employment opportunities for underrepresented women to participate in the money economy.
“For women, direct selling offers a great platform to become micro-entrepreneurs and build a sales business promoting products through signing up as distributors of direct selling companies,” the QNET CEO added.
During difficult economic times, women have had renewed awareness to establish more income streams. Direct selling offers an opportunity to start a less capital-intensive business and eliminates operational and logistics hassless.
“QNET saw record-breaking growth of up to 65% in African markets. The increased demand for online shopping and the transition to digital played to the advantage of our high-performing e-commerce platform,” Caluza noted.
At a global level, Africa is projected to be the new frontier of direct selling. The World Bank noted that the adoption of digital technologies is instrumental in helping the continent recover faster from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2020, the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA) reported a 17.3% increase in the number of women involved in this industry, bringing African direct selling distributors to 6.3 millio