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Business her own way – creating livelihoods through informal online commerce


Across the developing world there are millions of entrepreneurs, most of them women, who are engaged in a largely hidden but significant form of digital commerce that runs parallel to formal e-commerce – informal online commerce (IOC). Interventions to help women maximize the benefits of IOC should be based on a clear understanding of the different types of women who become IOC entrepreneurs, as they have different backgrounds, goals, and needs. This Focus Note from CGAP outlines the characteristics of IOC, maps the personas of the women who engage in it, and provides guidance to funders looking to support women to generate livelihoods through IOC.

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