Chinese Taipei

Policies and Achievements of Women Entrepreneurship

The Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics estimated that, in 2008, the female workforce in Chinese Taipei totaled approximately 4.68 million people, representing 49.7% of the total workforce. There were 4.5 million female employed persons, of which 31.9% were engaged in professional or technical occupations.

The thriving of the service industry and Internet marketing in Chinese Taipei in recent years brought about the business opportunities for women entrepreneurship and women have also been actively pursuing economic autonomy and participating the world business. There are more and more women entrepreneurs in Chinese Taipei, some of their companies have international brand and influence, like Cher Wang, the chairman of VIA Technologies, Inc. and HTC Corp, is the first female member of Chinese Taipei's APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC).

I. Performance

According to the 2009 White Paper on SMEs in Chinese Taipei, in 2008, there were 1,255,619 enterprises where it was possible to determine the sex of the business owner. 444,805 of these enterprises (35.43% of the total) were owned by women; 64.57% of the enterprises were owned by men. Female-owned enterprises posted total sales of NT$4,412.1 billion, representing 13.70% of the total sales by all enterprises. Female-owned enterprises had domestic sales of NT$3,673.7 billion (15.26%), and export sales of NT$738.4 billion (9.08%).

In 2008, domestic sales accounted for 83.26% of the total sales of female-owned enterprises, with export sales accounting for only 16.74%. By contrast, export sales accounted for 26.60% of the total sales of male-owned enterprises, while domestic sales accounted for 73.40%. Female-owned enterprises are thus more oriented towards the domestic market than male-owned enterprises. Meanwhile, 85.88% of female-owned enterprises were in the service sector, and the wholesaling and retailing industry accounted for the largest share of female-owned enterprises (54.92%).

II. Trends

According to the statistics released in 2009 by the Entrepreneurial Consulting Service Center, sponsored by the Small and Medium Enterprise Administration, Ministry of Economic Affair (SMEA, MOEA), showed some important findings:

  1. The ratios of inquiries from men and women are coming to near equivalence. There are 46% of the total consultations requested, almost the same compared to 2008.
  2. Women who requested business startup inquiries are well-educated. In 2009, 16% of the total of women who had Master or Ph.D. degrees, 62% graduated from universities or colleges, 21% had high school or vocational diplomas.
  3. Women who requested business startup inquiries are getting younger. From the age spread of women who have requested business startup inquiries, we can see that the highest percentage lies in between age 25 and 34, which takes up 40% of the total number, and the main body of the subjects spreads between 25 and 55 (approx. 87%).
  4. Over 43% of women who requested business startup inquiries services indicated that they had financial difficulties, and 14% indicated that they have problems in business planning, and the rest of the requesters brought up the topics of “e-commerce” and “marketing.”
  5. The statistics show that a large portion of women requires actual guidance in business planning to assure the direction and goal of their businesses as well as assistances in business startup capitals.

III. Policies

In the past few years, there has been a pronounced increase in female entrepreneurial activity throughout the globe. Governments in every part of the world, as well as leading international economic and trade organizations, have been working actively to encourage women to start their own businesses. In Chinese Taipei, the relevant government agencies have also been implementing a number of female entrepreneurship guidance initiatives, encouraging women to become economically independent, and improving female entrepreneurs’ chances of success. The key work items included in these guidance measures are outlined below:

A. Organisation of Mutual Assistance Networks for Female Entrepreneurs

The government has established the Female Business Owners Consultative Committee and Female Entrepreneurship Volunteer system to help get female-owned businesses working together, and to facilitate the integration of relevant resources and information so that female entrepreneurs can secure more wide-ranging assistance. In this way, the process of new business establishment by female entrepreneurs can be made smoother, assisted by business matching activities that can help women to develop networks of personal contacts and build up experience. The SMEA and the Central and Southern Joint Services Centers have already assisted with the establishment of Northern, Central and Southern branches of the Female Business Owners Consultative Committee, with a combined total of 89 committee members. The Committee helps to build networks for the exchange of ideas and information between female entrepreneurs, and helps female-owned businesses to access a wider range of assistance. In addition, a Female Entrepreneurship Volunteer system has been established, making use of existing guidance service mechanisms. This system involves the recruitment of female “honorary guidance providers,” female entrepreneurship consultants and female attorneys (working on a pro bono basis) who can assist with the delivery of government resources, and can provide specialist consulting services related to new business start-up, legal affairs and business management, working together with female-owned businesses as they develop and grow.

B. Business Start-up Information Exchange Platforms

  • The Female Entrepreneurs segment of the New Business Actualization Plan: The SMEA has established a Female Entrepreneurs segment within the New Business Actualization Plan (http://sme.moeasmea.gov.tw) to provide female-owned businesses with relevant guidance information and resources.
  • The “Women Village” network: Managed by the Women Village foundation, the Women Village network has as its objective the establishment and operation of platforms for the exchange of information and resources for female entrepreneurs provided by government agencies, non-profit organizations and private-sector bodies. This covers everything from basic e-commerce to more advanced money flow, logistics and online transaction functions, supplemented by training programs and guidance measures, with the overall goal of boosting the efficiency of female entrepreneurs.
  • The “Women Business” portal site: TAITRA has established the “Women Business” portal site as part of its site. The main purpose of this site is to help female-owned businesses to leverage online marketing in the development of international markets.

C. Specialist Consulting and Guidance Services for Female-owned Businesses

Starting in 2008, the SMEA’s Entrepreneurial Consulting Service Centers provide female-owned businesses with a new channel through which they can access consulting services, thereby helping female entrepreneurs to make effective use of the resources available from the government, and obtain the specialist business start-up, legal affairs and business management consulting services that they need. In this way, the Service Centers contribute to the development and growth of female-owned businesses. So far, the Service Centers have provided assistance to 3,374 female entrepreneurs.

D. Strengthening Women’s Entrepreneurial Capabilities

  • Organizing entrepreneurship training programs for women: Working together with the SME Entrepreneurship and Innovation College, a series of training programs have been launched that are specially tailored to meet the needs of female entrepreneurs; for women who are interested in starting their own business, these programs will increase the likelihood of the venture being successful. Subsidies are also being provided to support research on female entrepreneurship, leveraging the resources of the university sector to gain a clearer understanding of the current situation facing female entrepreneurs and develop policy recommendations.
  • The “Female Entrepreneurship Concern Train”: The government has launched the “Female Entrepreneurship Concern Train” activity to provide opportunities for female business owners to exchange ideas and experience, and to benefit from management advice and psychological support and encouragement.
  • Helping female entrepreneurs to take part in award schemes and obtain government subsidies: The Entrepreneurs Consulting Center is providing assistance in this area by identifying female-owned businesses with significant growth potential, and helping them to participate in award schemes and competitions and apply for government subsidies.
  • Encouraging female entrepreneurs to participate in international activities: The government provides recommendations to enable female business owners to take part in international female entrepreneurship activities – such as the APEC Women Leaders Network (WLN), the Global Summit of Women, and the meetings of the International Council for Small Business (ICSB), thereby helping female businesspeople to undertake international exchange and keep up-to-date with global trends.

E. Financing Support for Female Entrepreneurs

Funding is the most vital resource for female entrepreneurs. There are two types of policy loans are most welcome by women. They are Micro-business Start-up Phoenix Loan and Young Entrepreneur Loans, provided by the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) and National Youth Commission (NYC). In this regard, the SMEA has been actively collaborating with CLA and NYC through the Small and Medium Enterprise Credit Guarantee Fund by providing over 80% of credit guarantee, so as to assist women entrepreneurs in accessing bank loans.

The SMEA’s financing Guidance System also provides women SMEs with finance-related consulting, diagnostic and guidance service, as well as coordinating the provision of financing to SMEs by financial institutions, helping SMEs to establish sound financial and accounting systems, and cultivating SME financial manager talent to enhance SMEs’ financial management capabilities.

To help provide SME owners and managers with the financing information they need, and to expand the range of financing service channels available to SMEs, the SMEA set up a One-Stop Service Center and has arranged for the establishment of SME Financing Service Contact Windows in the branches of financial institutions. These contact windows provide inquiry and consulting services relating to financing guarantees, investment and financial management.

F. "Micro-business Start-up Phoenix Loan" and " Entrepreneur Consulting Services"

The Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) offers "Micro-business Start-up Phoenix Loan". The target applicants are women aged 20~65 and middle aged people (45~65 years old). They are provided with start-up funds of at most 31,000 USD. The applications should be sent in to the CLA by applicants. After being reviewed and approved, applications will be passed on to financial institutions to process the loan.

Since it was established, a total of 4,389 women have been helped to start business cumulatively, including 1,566 women receiving the business start-up loans, creating the employment opportunity for 12,227 persons. The success rate of business start-up reaches 97.06%. Among all business industries, the food service industry takes up most loans; the clothing, accessories, beauty treatment, and hairdressing industries are next.

  • Low-interest and guarantor- 2 or 3 years interest-free
    The most significant feature of Micro-business Start-up Phoenix Loan is guarantor-and guarantee-free, providing accommodators 95% credit guaranty. And the loan interest is calculated by the postal deposit variable rate plus the annual interest rate of 0.575% (currently 1.67%). The maximum length of maturity period of loan is 7 years. For accommodators of general status, the first two years are interest-free. Loan recipients subject to special circumstances, victims of domestic violence, occupational injuries, criminal activity and low income households or those who suffer losses as a result of a natural disaster are exempted from paying interest for three years, and since the fourth year, the annual interest rate is fixed at 1.5%, the interest difference will be subsidized by the CLA .

  • Entrepreneur Consulting Services
    The CLA promotes Entrepreneur Consulting Services to reduce risk of entrepreneurs. In order to enhance women’s knowledge about business start-up and increase the successful rate of business start-up, the Project, tied with the entrepreneurship guidance and service plan, established six service bases in Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan, Hualien and Kaohsiung and installed the toll-free advisory hotline and website exclusive for the Project to provide individuals or groups with advisory service and to hold entrepreneurship courses.

G. Balancing Family and Work - Parental Leave Allowance
Since 2002, Chinese Taipei’s Gender Equality in Employment Act has had regulations concerning the rights of employees who can apply for unpaid parental leave. In order to make sure that those who apply for unpaid parental leave can receive allowances and raise children without any worry, the Employment Insurance Law has “Parental Leave Allowance” added as a covering item – which begins implementation from May 1st, 2009. In doing so, employees can safely receive allowances and also don’t need to worry about economic pressures during parental leave and will acquire balance between raising children and economic maintenance. Meantime, this allowance can also encourage husbands to take responsibility for raising children. 43,673 persons applied parental leave allowance from May 1st, 2009-June 30th, 2010.

Employees who have joined the employment insurance scheme reaching to one year, and have children aged below 3, as well as carried out the unpaid parental leave according to the Gender Equality in Employment Act, can apply for the allowance hereof. The standard of payment is 60% of average monthly insurance salary over the six months before the insured applies for parental leave. Each parent raising children can receive the allowance for six months at the maximum. It means two parents in a family can receive it for twelve months at the maximum. The government has considered father’s and mother’s choices and positively pushed ahead with the purpose of achieving gender equality. The systematic design can let both parents enjoy the same right – allowance of six months at the maximum for each one. This also corresponds well to what is regulated about the matter of parental leave in Gender Equality in Employment Act. Then, employees can enjoy the situation of “having both leave and money” and no longer worry about economic pressures during leave for raising children. The value conveyed in this policy is exactly the government’s intention: to encourage employees to return to the workplace as well as to fulfill the duty of taking care of a family.

H. Multi-Employment Promotion Project

In this project, non-governmental groups and governmental departments cooperate together to guide the unemployed to join the planning task via creative, local and developing plans. If joining this project, women can have the following possible developments: becoming staff of the recruitment planning department in the future, continuing participating local services, returning to normal workplace employment, or starting up businesses by themselves. There are 10608, 11674, 11630, and 4660 women participating in this project respectively in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 Q2. It is found that women dominate almost 60% of all employed staff.

I. Vocational Training and Employment Matching

In 2007, 32470 unemployed women participated in trainings. The employment rate was 40.03%. In 2008, 34051 unemployed women participated in trainings. The employment rate was 44.29%. In 2009, 34492 unemployed women participated in trainings. The employment rate was 41.79%.

To exercise temporary working allowance, keep employment opportunities for public service, and offer employment opportunities to specific minority women. The CLA offers periodic services according to periodic needs by aiming at employment obstacles of foreign spouses. It was about 7827 persons helped to take up jobs in 2009.

J. “Flying Geese Program”

  • Organize training programs to enhance startup knowledge, there are 3-day training courses provided for free. The contents of the courses are especially designed for women, including such diversified matters as adaptive assessments for entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship plans, fund raising, governmental resources, company registration and taxes and marketing.
  • Manage Entrepreneurship Exposition to provide sales opportunities. There are also entrepreneurship forums and thematic lectures held during the exhibition period, thus entrepreneurs may show their results and share their experiences, and also expand their marketing channel.
  • Construct “Entrepreneurship Information Network”, a knowledge sharing platform, E-newspapers are published to provide the latest entrepreneurship and activities information. Website address: http://youthbusiness.nyc.gov.tw.
  • Since the year of 2000, National Youth Commission has assisted in the establishment of the “Geese Mutual Aid Association”,to combine the experience and successful results of women entrepreneurs for mutual assistance and growth in the entrepreneurship process.

K. Bridging Digital Divide for Women

Bridging Digital Divide for Women was launched in 2007 to narrow the digital divide between genders, providing women living in non-urban areas with training on basic computer skills in order to create multiple opportunities for women, including social and economic, and thereby to enhance their ability in either employment or entrepreneurship.

Non-profit organizations/schools were funded by the Sino-American Fund for Economic and Social Development to provide women with free training on basic computer skills for 24 hours. The government funded each woman for 47USD.

About 20,000 women have completed the training on basic computer skill in 2009. In view of the fruitful result, the plan will be continued to provide training opportunities to about 20,000 women in 2010 and decided to double training vacancy up to 40,000 in 2011. The plan has been included in the Digital Opportunity Creation 4-Year Plan (2008-2011). It will be promoted for 4 years, with an annual funding of 900,000 USD for the first 3 years and double the funding to 1,800,000 USD in 2011.