ADB provides $20.2m to women-led SMEs

16-May-2019 Intellasia | The Saigon Times | 6:00 AM Print This Post

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on May 14 announced that it has received $20.2 million from the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) to support women-led small and medium-sized enterprises, providing access to critical financing and training in Vietnam and the Pacific.

The grant will fund the Women Accelerating Vibrant Enterprises in Southeast Asia and the Pacific (WAVES) programme, which aims to promote inclusive and sustainable growth and development through women’s businesses and entrepreneurship.

Approximately 5,000 women-led SMEs from Vietnam and the Pacific will benefit from the five-year programme.

According to ADB, women-led businesses comprise some 60 percent of all micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in Asia and the Pacific.

However, these enterprises face capital constraints, which hamper their growth and development, while the women heading these businesses have limited access to business training and to targeted government support.

The WAVES programme will address these constraints by focusing on the three areas of SME developmentaccess to finance, capacity development and a supportive environment.

The programme will improve these SMEs’ access to finance through innovative financial approaches including performance-based pricing in Vietnam and the first gender bond in the Pacific.

This is important given that Asia and the Pacific has one of the largest global SME financing gaps, with 59 percent of the gap attributed to credit constraints faced by women-led SMEs.

In Vietnam, the gender financing gap is estimated by the International Finance Corporation to have reached $1.19 billion.

National partners including government agencies, civil society organisations and women’s business associations, meanwhile, will be mobilised to support the design and execution of gender-responsive regulations, policies and action plans to foster a more conducive environment in which women-led businesses can thrive and expand.

The WAVES programme will focus on the capacity development of women through financial literacy and business acceleration programmes, mentorship and networking opportunities, with a view of equipping them with the necessary skills to run and expand their enterprises.

In April 2018, ADB received a $12.6 million grant from We-Fi to promote women entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka.

ADB has been investing in women’s entrepreneurship in the Asia-Pacific region as part of its commitment to advancing women’s economic empowerment, which is one of the operational priorities of its newly adopted Strategy 2030. By 2030, it is expected that 75 percent of all ADB projects will promote gender equality.

We-Fi is governed by 14 founding contributing countries and is managed by the World Bank.$202m-to-women-led-smes.html


Category: Finance, Vietnam

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