Helping women to start businesses to boost productivity
Updated: 2013-05-20 07:38
“Zhou Xin, a 27-year-old woman, is expecting to double her company’s annual revenue to 20 million yuan ($3.25 million) this year from 2012 after improving her marketing strategy learned from a business course.
Zhou is the founder and owner of Tianjin Xinkelv Food Co, which produces healthy green and organic foods and develops recipes.
She founded the company in 2009, when she graduated from university, without any business management experience or knowledge.
“All things are difficult before they are easy,” Zhou said. “When I decided to realize the business idea that I formulated when attending the university, I couldn’t find any startup capital.”
After Zhou’s loan application was rejected by banks, she asked for money from a relative.
“As a guarantee, I secretly took the house property ownership certificate from my parents and handed it to the relative. The first loan was 1 billion yuan,” she said.
As a food company, the most difficult time Zhou’s business suffered was in 2011, when many steamed bread producers were mired in a scandal concerning use of colorants.
“Very few customers came to my shop at that time, fearing our products might harm their health,” she said.
Zhou hung a poster outside her shop that stated that if just one product was below the required standard, then refunds would be made on thousands of quality products.
She also invited a food quality inspector to conduct tests on the food she sold.
“The high quality of our food and our honesty has helped to win back the trust of customers. It made me realize the importance of marketing, which I learned from special business training courses,” Zhou said.
The food company’s annual revenue was 1.2 million yuan in 2010. It jumped to 6 million yuan in 2011 and 10 million yuan in 2012.
“Now I understand how important funding and specific training are for entrepreneurs, especially for businesswomen,” Zhou said.
“I became more focused, ambitious and goal-oriented in making strategic decisions after receiving this education.”
Since 2008, Goldman Sachs has invested $100 million to provide 10,000 underserved women around the world with business and management education.
Validated data indicates that, globally, within 30 months of graduation, 83 percent of surveyed graduates increased revenues, 77 percent hired additional employees and 90 percent mentor other women postgraduates.
More than 2,000 women in China have or will be trained through the Goldman Sachs’ global program.
“Investing in women is one of the most effective ways to reduce inequality and facilitate inclusive economic growth,” said Dina Habib Powell, president of the Goldman Sachs Foundation and global head of corporate engagement.”
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