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Sustainable development skills for women in business across Australia and Latin America

Deakin Business School (DBS) researchers are set to play a key role in strengthening the connection between women entrepreneurs and sustainable development.

Women in business across Australia and Latin America will soon benefit from DBS-led training that’s aimed at building positive social and environmental impact.

DBS researchers Dr Andrea North-Samardzic, Dr Jane Menzies, Associate Professor Ambika Zutshi, Dr Rakesh Pati, and Dr Arpit Raswant have been awarded a grant from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – Council of Australian Latin American Relations (COALAR) that will provide training and networks for women in Australia, Chile, and Uruguay who want to align their businesses more closely to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Dr Menzies, whose research expertise includes women in international and cross-culture business operations, says the project tackles two key global challenges.

‘It is important to improve the position of women in business and sustainability as these are both grand challenges facing the world today – equality for women, and also sustainability for the world, countries, businesses given our current climate change issues.’

With DBS partners Universidad ORT in Uruguay and Universidad de Chile, Facultad de Economía y Negocios in Chile(FEN) and Deakin’s Regional Manager for Latin America Mr Gonzalo Perez, the initiative is designed to enhance the capabilities of business women who want to produce positive social and environmental impacts in their communities.

‘We often say that the SDGs are linked together,’ says Dr Menzies. 

‘For example, if we are addressing sustainability and climate change issues, then we should also address the other SDGs such as equality for women. There’s also new research that says women may contribute better to climate change issues because they care.’

For women in business across Australia and Latin America, the training provided by DBS in collaboration with ORT and FEN will include interactive online workshops, expert speakers, mentoring, and opportunities for networking all designed to build the skills needed for achieving SDGs. 

‘This grant will enable collaborative partnerships across nations to ensure that these women in business are at the forefront of discovering, creating, and driving opportunities for achieving SDGs. These partnerships will also allow for strengthening of existing economic engagement and providing policy recommendations to enhance bilateral relationships and future initiatives for women in business,’ explains Dr Menzies.

Workshop topics will include cross-cultural skills/intelligence, working abroad, working in cross-cultural teams, virtual teamwork, entrepreneurships for sustainable development, sustainable ventures, sustainable innovation, strategies for competitive advantage, culture and sustainability, green markets, and funding options.

Alongside capacity building and network development, the project will also deliver policy advice says Dr Menzies.

‘One of the outcomes will be a policy paper with recommendations on strategies to develop and enhance the capabilities of women in business in Australia and Latin America. Notably, the policy paper will highlight potential collaborations, investments, and trade opportunities to address SDGs but other policy implications could include more government support for women to become entrepreneurs – not only across Australia, Chile and Uruguay – but globally.’

The first series of online workshops will be held 3–6 May 2022 for Australian participants (each day will consist of a total of 3 hour workshops scheduled from 8am-11am AEST) and 2_5 May 2022 for Latin American participants, with a second series in August 2022.

Expressions of interest for participation can be found here and for further information please contact Dr Andrea North-Samardzic at andreans@deakin.edu.au

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