Bureaucracy Beware Women Entrepreneurs Bearing Cell Phones

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Dell’s entrepreneur-in-residence Ingrid Vanderveldt argues that getting phones in the hands of female entrepreneurs will deal a blow to bureaucracy.

By Jessica Stillman (Editor, Women 2.0)

The spread of mobile phones in the developing world has brought serious benefits from delivering ebooks to children to helping scientists fight malaria and charities get cash into the hands to those in need. But Dell’s entrepreneur-in-residence Ingrid Vanderveldt recently highlighted another possible positive impact of the explosion in mobile phone use across the globe while visiting a refugee camp in South Sudan with resident entrepreneur at the United Nations Elizabeth Gore.

It seems an unlikely place to talk about entrepreneurship, but Vanderveldt feels that even the most disadvantaged of places are set to see the benefits of women armed with cell phones and claims the camp is already peppered with microbusinesses. Fast Company recorded her comments:

“You wouldn’t think there’s innovation, but yet there’s small business happening; there’s trading happening,” she says. “Business and entrepreneurism is punching through, even in the most unlikely places like a refugee camp.”

The key to their success? Mobile phones, and an increased access to technology… as more women in the world gain access to mobile phones, it will revolutionize traditional business roles and break down stifling bureaucracy.

“When you add in the technology element, it just enables them to have access to the world, to make that change,” she says.

Check out the complete article for more details of Vandervelt and Gore’s trip and their predictions for women’s entrepreneurship across the globe, or read up on how two women are using an online platform to fight bribery in India.

What other less obvious impacts will mobile phone access have on life across the developing world?

Jessica Stillman is an editor at Women 2.0 and a freelance writer with interests in unconventional career paths, generational differences, and the future of work. She writes a daily column for Inc.com and has blogged for CBS MoneyWatch, GigaOM and Brazen Careerist, among others. Follow her on Twitter at @entrylevelrebel.

Photo credit: teachandlearn via Flickr