DIGITAL TOOLS are helping women gain an advantage in launching and expanding their businesses in the Philippines, according to business superapp Enstack.

“A lot of our sellers are female; an overwhelming majority, 70-80%, are female,” Macy Castillo, Enstack co-founder and chief executive officer, said in interview with BusinessWorld.

“It’s predominantly female categories, such as healthy, beauty, and fashion that have repeat buyers,” she added. “That is a really good indicator for us.”

Ms. Castillo noted that the gender disparity in business stems from how much more women have to do as the main caretakers of the family. “They have a lot more responsibilities for the home they’re juggling at once.”

The Global Progress for Women report by Avon in March said that 52% of Filipino women it surveyed admitted to a lack of confidence being a barrier to starting a business, with 79% citing inadequate financial resources.

Societal stereotypes and conventional expectations in the Philippines continue to pose challenges for women, affecting their career and financial prospects, it added.

Globally, the most prevalent challenges faced by women in starting their own businesses were financial constraints (61%), fear of failure (44%), uncertainty about where to begin (36%), inadequate knowledge of the market (34%), and low confidence (33%).

At the same time, the report noted that 77% of women globally aspire to increase their earnings, either by exploring alternative income sources or by progressing in their current employment.

The digital streamlining of business processes through platforms and tools has allowed entrepreneurship to open in the country, Ms. Castillo said, especially where a lot of women have begun to realize their potential as business proponents.

“We’re cutting down the time they spend on business so they spend it on the other things they want,” she said on Enstack’s community of entrepreneurs and tools for SMEs as an omnichannel store builder.

“For women, they always think they have to give up a lot to become entrepreneurs,” she added. “Will I have enough time for my family or other things I want to do if I start business? And that’s all true.”

“Of course, there’s still some investment of resources — time, effort, and money — so for us, it’s really a matter of making sure that they are comfortable and confident to start their business on their own.”

“If it’s always been at the back of your mind, try it out,” she said, addressing Filipino women who are also aspiring entrepreneurs. “The not knowing might be harder than just doing it.” — Miguel Hanz L. Antivola