Social entrepreneur and humanitarian Wendy Diamond is the CEO and Founder of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Organization (WEDO), a privately-owned philanthropic organization with a mission and movement to empower women and girls globally, and alleviate poverty worldwide. She is the Founder of Animal Fair Media, Inc., the premiere pet lifestyle media platform bridging celebrity and animal rescue. Wendy actively invests in social impact, disruptive technologies, and women lead businesses.
The Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (WED), and new international digital campaign and portal #ChooseWomen is a grassroots movement that empowers, celebrates and supports women in business worldwide. When women are elevated financially their communities, states, and countries prosper, which generates a global blueprint for alleviating poverty globally.
Today, women account for 85 percent of consumer purchases and control $20 trillion in global spending. At the same time, they perform 66 percent of the world’s work (both paid and unpaid) yet only earn 10 percent of the world’s income. In the U.S., there are approximately 10 M woman-owned businesses, generating $1.3T in revenue and employing 7.8 M people. This number is expected to increase by 90 percent in the next five years, with 500,000 new businesses being created each year in the U.S. alone. At the same time, 1 in 3 women in America lives in poverty and of the 1.3M people living in severe poverty globally, 70 percent are women and girls.
Women in developed and developing nations alike are becoming increasingly active participants in local and global economies at a rapid rate. Today, in the United States, 38% of new businesses are founded by women, but only between 2-6% of them receive VC funding. One recent survey of 350 woman-owned tech startups revealed that 80% of founders used their own savings to launch their businesses. At the same time, an increase of women in leadership positions from zero to just 30% is associated with a 15% increase in profitability.
Women are the world’s most responsible borrowers, paying back microloans worldwide today at a 97% rate of return. 90% of the money they earn is used to educate their children and to provide for their families.
Launched in 2014, WEDO works globally to empower women and girls to become active participants in the economy by igniting a network of women leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs to initiate startups, drive economic expansion, and advance communities around the world. In order to achieve this ambitious goal, WEDO builds and catalyzes the vital networks of like-minded individuals and organizations that women business leaders need to realize their full potential and change the world.
Through our movement we have grown to be celebrated in 144 countries and 110 universities. We convene Business Leaders, Government Officials and Civil society to collaborate and find solutions in critical areas of entrepreneurship eco-systems, education and policy creation to empower women in business.
Our WEDO achievements from the past year include funding 500 Syrian refugee girls to attend high school in Jordan. In Oman, a WEDO ambassador announced an initiative to empower women and girls to use their vote against arranged marriage. We’ve partnered with a local university offering scholarships to the girls present at the WEDO event in Uruguay.
Since the first WEDO in 2014, we have grown our organization to become a powerful network for women in business, and have reached over 5 Billion people. We promote best practice, link women entrepreneurs with partners and consumers, and support over ambassadors globally to drive change.
A full list of partners can be found on our website: http://www.womenseday.org. WED has been extensively covered by global media outlets, including, MERCEDES: The Power of Female Entrepreneurship, FORBES: Best Way to Save the World: Put Women In Charge, FOX NEWS: Beyond the Dream: Women Helping Women. Here’s the video showing the WED events around the world!
We are excited to take WED to the next level of impact in 2017, building on the successes of the past 3 years. We have expanded our initiative to Asia including New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai in India to a strong focus on the Middle East welcoming Yemen and Morocco this year!
This year we are also thrilled to be launching our digital platform ChooseWOMEN.org, which will be the largest directory of women-owned businesses in the world — allowing anyone, anywhere to easily find and support women-owned businesses with their purchases. The #ChooseWOMEN global platform will launch on the Wednesday after Thanksgiving (November 29 2017), engaging consumers to support women-owned businesses in the spirit of American Express’s Small Business Saturday. Consumers worldwide will be able to help create sustainable growth and alleviate global poverty, by empowering and supporting women in business.
We are partnering with RCA which has committed to rallying their artists (Shakira, Alicia Keys, Justin Timberlake etc. depending on schedules) to be in a promotional video for ChooseWOMEN. In addition we have secured one of the world’s oldest and largest advertising agency J. Walter Thompson, as creative/branding partner on the campaign. CBS Network has agreed to air the video pro-bono around the time of the launch.
We have a stellar track record of rallying an incredible community of distinguished supporters including: HRH Crown Princess Katherine (Crown Princess of Serbia, Philanthropist & Patron of Lifeline Humanitarian Organization), Ms. Goldie Hawn (Academy and Golden Globe Award Winning Actress, Director, Producer, and Founder of the Hawn Foundation), Mr. Peter H. Diamandis (Founder of Xprize and Singularity University), Her Royal Highness Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al-Saud (Alfa Intl./Harvey Nichols), Mr. Craig Newmark (Founder of Craigslist and Craig Connects),Ms.Baroness Sandip Verma (Member of the House of Lords, Under Secretary of State for International Development British Government, and ActionAid UK’s Ministerial Champion for Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls), Ms. Andrea Jung (CEO of Grameen America, Former CEO of Avon and Board of Directors of Apple, Daimler AG and General Electric), Ms. Kay Koplovitz (Founder of USA Networks, The Syfy Channel, Co-Founder and Managing Director of the Springboard Fund, Board of Directors of CATechnologies, ION media and Time Inc.), Ms. Bobbi Rebell (Author How to be a Financial Grownup, Reuters Money Columnist, Chief Television Correspondent & Anchor, Business Video Thompson Reuters), Ms. Randi Zuckerberg (Founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media, host of DotComplicated on SIRIUSXM Business Radio and New York Times bestselling author of Dot Complicated and DOT!), Ms. Mindy Grossman (CEO of HSN, Board of Directors UNICEF, National Retail Federation), Ms. Kate Rogers (CNBC Small Business and Entrepreneurship Reporter on CNBC’s Business Day programming and CNBC.com), Ms. Yue-Sai Kan (Emmy Award Winning TV personality, Founder Yue-Sai Cosmetics, Director of Miss Universe China) and many more.
The objective for WED and #ChooseWOMEN in 2017 is to strategically scale and deepen our impact globally. This year we plan to increase our educational reach to all 193 member states of the United Nations and to expand our extensive media footprint to encourage women in every member country to pursue entrepreneurial ventures. Our ultimate goal is to create a universally recognized space for women and girls from across the world to access knowledge, in-kind resources and capital that builds on the networking and relationship building that happens on WED and takes the movement online year-round in multiple languages.