Women’s Business and Digital Technology
The Women’s Entrepreneurship and Digital Technology conference with leading business and media experts took place in Moscow on March 30. The participants discussed the peculiarities of the phenomenon of women’s entrepreneurship, shared practical advice on business development, and talked about new opportunities that have appeared in the process of digitalisation.
entrepreneur, public figure, musician, Co-Chairperson of the Council of Entrepreneurs of Moscow
Head of the Global Women Media news agency, Rector of IGUMO and MKIK, PhD in Law
First Deputy Director General of the Argumenty i Fakty publishing house (AiF)
Co-founder and head of amoCRM
Women make up 54% of Russia’s population. However, only 60% of them are engaged in entrepreneurial activities. This is not a bad indicator. However, it can and should be increased. For comparison, 72% of men’s population of Russia is engaged in business. As stated by NAFI Research Centre, additional involvement of women in the economy can increase Russia’s GDP by 13-14%. That is why the topic of women entrepreneurship is increasingly often voiced in the business community.
Today, experts single out several key factors that slow down the growth of women’s employment in the economy. Those include lack of confidence in oneself and one’s potential, insufficiency of professional knowledge, and absence of access to financing. Within the open dialogue format, the speakers shared specific pieces of advice that would help women develop in business more effectively.
Marina Mishunkina, First Deputy Director General of the Argumenty i Fakty publishing house, told about the representation of women’s entrepreneurship in the media space. As emphasized by the expert, constant communication with readers helps her and her colleagues feel the trends and demands of today’s society subtly.
After the pandemic, two key elements to be developed in order to upgrade all spheres of social life have become clearly seen: transition to digital technologies and demand for sincerity and social focus.
Many businesses started developing actively in the digital space during the pandemic. In this regard, Marina Mishunkina shared several key principles of how to attract and maintain the attention of subscribers and clients by means of information content. She recommended being in a continuous dialogue with the audience based on trust and empathy, publishing honest and high-quality information, and being keenly interested in the interests and concerns of readers.
Today, people need humanity as never before. That attracts them when choosing goods and services as well. It is important that content corresponds to relevant forms of digital reality and brings practical use.
As a media expert, Marina Mishunkina paid the attention of the listeners to another interesting fact. Today’s world has a number of bright role models of successful women entrepreneurs. They often became the heroines of the articles published in the Argumenty i Fakty magazine alongside its website and social media pages. Moreover, it is women who suggested people help that their business could provide during the pandemic.
Today, when sincerity, warmth, and humanity have become the main demands of society, women’s entrepreneurship has the most favourable position. Those are qualities that are most natural for women.
Andrey Kovalev, entrepreneur, public figure, and billionaire, shared his man’s vision of women’s entrepreneurship. He emphasized that he approaches women entrepreneurs with great respect and warmth and believes that their number in Russia will increase in the near future.
In his opinion, the development of digital technology provides women with a number of opportunities to fulfil their potential in business. Not so long ago, it was hard to imagine a young mother combining entrepreneurial activities with taking care of her family. Today, it is possible thanks to the internet and a rather simple procedure for registering self-employment.
The main thing is to have a sincere desire, interest, professional knowledge that one can also acquire online, and a good understanding of the chosen business.
Shortly before the meeting, Andrey Kovalev was elected Co-Chairperson of the Council of Entrepreneurs of Moscow. During an open dialogue, he expressed his mission as supporting different segments of business including women and youth.
“Today, entrepreneurs have many opportunities for development. At the same time, we have a task to make the business environment even more comfortable, correct, and fair”, commented Andrey Kovalev.
Mikhail Tokovinin, co-founder and head of amoCRM, shared professional tips on how to increase the revenue of any company twofold.
As he explained, as a rule, a business’s profit is formed according to four key indicators: the incoming flow of requests (customers), conversion into sales, the size of the check, and secondary sales. To double revenue, you need to double any of these components or increase each by 25%.
Most often, entrepreneurs focus on the first component: attracting new customers. Advertising on the internet becomes the most popular tool. However, Mikhail Tokovinin believes that such an approach is no longer relevant today. Firstly, the advertising environment on social media or search systems is full of competitors. The most visible place is always occupied by the one who invested more money in advertising. Secondly, traffic is getting increasingly expensive every year.
Content marketing is a much more effective tool for attracting customers today. That means creating high-quality information materials that attract the attention of the audience and monetize traffic through the business.
If a business does not have the ability to attract traffic, one should pay more attention to working with the audience one already has. Mikhail Tokovinin’s team conducted research that showed: many companies lose customers simply because employees forget to call customers back or give poor feedback to all those interested in the product.
CRM (customer relationship management) is an effective tool for solving such problems. It is application software for businesses that help them structure the communication with the audience. However, small and medium-sized businesses can fulfil the CRM approach without special programmes. It is enough to capture all the information about real and potential customers on paper strictly and clearly.
In business, people who sell goods and interact with the audience in any way are extremely important. To ensure that an employee’s performance is good, it is necessary to motivate him or her. The manager must also formulate clear and understandable rules and principles of work.
Marina Volynkina, PhD in Law, Rector of the Institute for the Humanities and Information Technologies, and Head of the Global Women Media news agency, told about the legal tools of copyright protection in the information space and digital market.
In the modern world, every person using social media becomes the author of his or her works (publications, photos, and videos). To do that, one only needs to publish the product of one’s creative activity in open access on the net. At the same time, the increased process of digitalisation not only revealed new opportunities for authors but also became a reason of rapid growth of plagiarism. To save yourself from these unfortunate situations, you need to remember about your rights and respect those of other copyright holders.
Any work becomes legally protected if it is expressed in an objective form and is a result of creative work. The author receives five rights automatically: the right of authorship, the right to a name (including a pseudonym or anonymity), the right to inviolability of his or her work, the right to its promulgation, and the exclusive right.
All these rights oblige any third parties to agree with the author on the right to use his or her works. Thus, it is impossible to place someone else’s photos on your websites or social media pages without the written permission of the author. It is forbidden to copy materials, including publications, notes, and articles for subsequent publication on your platform without reference to the authors of these materials.
It is important to remember that the intellectual property right on objects of creative activity is protected by the legislator in the same way as the property right on any property.
In case of violation of copyright, the author can file a claim against the person who used someone else’s content illegally. One can turn to the Moscow City Court or to law enforcement agencies with a request to initiate a criminal case against the person who violated the author’s rights. That does not require much effort or in-depth legal knowledge. However, that’s an effective mechanism of protection of violated rights.
Marina Volynkina also called upon entrepreneurs to respect the rights of authors whom they employ. She advised to always conclude contracts with photographers, copywriters, designers, and other professionals, in which the owners of the exclusive rights to the created content will be specified.
The meeting also touched upon the issue of the necessity to register trademarks. The trademarks’ purpose lies in the individualization of goods and services of different businesses as well as the protection of rights holders from violation of their rights.
Interestingly, the participants of the meeting paid attention not only to the issues directly related to women’s entrepreneurship but also to the interaction with the younger generation. As noted by the experts, today’s young people are interested in success and financial well-being. That should not be considered as a negative trend.
At the same time, women more often shape a friendly business environment. In this regard, we can hardly overestimate the role of women who are natural mothers and keepers of the family hearth.
At the same time, experts unanimously agreed that women’s entrepreneurship having its own peculiarities should not become an isolated and ‘closed’ segment of business. It is important to make sure that men, women, and young people work in partnership. This is the only way to create a harmonious and high-quality entrepreneurial environment that will be aimed at bringing benefit to not only individual business projects but also society as a whole.
Viktoria Yezhova, Global Women Media news agency
Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov