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Canva and ILO collaborate to build graphic design skills of women entrepreneurs

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Aug 26, 2021


In August, the ILO Rebuilding Better project collaborated with Canva to support women entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia develop graphic design skills and improve their online marketing.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) collaborated with Canva, a global graphic design platform, to host a series of workshops for women entrepreneurs where they had the opportunity to learn graphic design and key digital marketing tips for optimizing their online presence and strengthen their business brands. The webinars, held through August 2021, took place in Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines.

The workshops were organised by the ILO and J.P. Morgan project ‘Rebuilding Better: Fostering Business Resilience Post-COVID-19 project ’ as part of training women entrepreneurs to stay resilient and eventually recover and thrive beyond the pandemic.

Screenshot from Canva workshop, 10 August 2021

Over 150 women entrepreneurs participated in the events where they learned the basics of Canva and graphic design, and the importance of curating an online presence for their business. They also received practical tips on branding, online marketing and social media in order to increase competitiveness, adapt and stay resilient to the pandemic.

COVID-19 has skyrocketed the use of social media and online platforms for small businesses, and it is important to ensure that women entrepreneurs are not lagging behind in this area. A recent report by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in collaboration with the e-commerce platform Lazada, found that “if the gap in sales between female and male vendors was closed, over US$14.5 billion could be added to Southeast Asian e-commerce market between 2025 and 2030”. The ILO-Canva partnership not only supports women entrepreneurs to recover from the pandemic but helps them cultivate skills that remains relevant with future market trends.

Participants expressed the timeliness of the workshops to their current businesses. “We need to use social media for our business because it is easy to use and we can reach more customers while we are all safe at home during COVID-19”, said an attendant.

Poster entry from women entrepreneur in Malaysia for the ILO-Canva competition

The Rebuilding Better project and Canva have also launched a competition among participants where they can publish their posters made using the Canva software in social media using the skills they learned. Winners will be selected and given a free yearly subscription to Canva premium for their businesses.

“Women entrepreneurs can use social media to create awareness around their brand and to connect with customers but many struggle with content creation and how to differentiate themselves from competitors online. We hope that this session with Canva will enable women entrepreneurs to optimize their online presence and leverage digital and online platforms during COVID-19 and beyond.” said Sara Andersson, ILO Project Technical Officer for the Rebuilding Better project.

The sessions, as well as the competition, is part of an ongoing effort by the ILO to partner with digital platforms and bring their solutions to women entrepreneurs in an accessible and scalable manner.

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