100 female entrepreneurs talk business

Over 100 women from around the world gathered April 23 in Chofu City, Tokyo, to discuss shared problems and growing opportunities for women in business at a workshop titled “Women Entrepreneurs’ International Exchange 1997.”

The businesswomen, who came from Asia, Europe and North America, participated in discussions on the varying advances of female entrepreneurs in their respective nations. Coordinators of the workshop, who included Linda Sherman, vice president of Coors Japan K.K., and Mie Teno, managing director of consulting firm Deltapoint International Ltd., all pointed out that Chinese and Singaporean women seemed to have made the most gains both in heading their own companies and holding top positions in national corporations.

Japanese and Korean women have made lesser advances than some of their Asian neighbors in recent years, but continue to be a growing part of the workforce, added coordinator Deborah Wetmore, director of Spencer Stuart Japan, Ltd. “Women in China have access to many government-organized support networks, like the China Women’s Association which has bases in 30 cities. These organizations make it easier to gain respect and be successful in business,” said Wang Xiuling, president of the Tianjin Commercial International Logistics Company.

Nearly half of the workshop’s 100-plus participants were Japanese businesswomen. Besides Teno, they included Mieko Nishimizu, vice president of the World Bank’s South Asia region, and Yuri Konno, CEO of Dial Service Co., Ltd., an international telephone services company. Konno is also chair of the Committee for the Year 2001, which organized the workshop and several other events this week for the businesswomen. A final conference entitled “Growth and Harmony: Women Entrepreneurs Face the 21st Century” will be held April 25.