HAMBURG, Germany; Launch of Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi):
PADES is pleased to noticed that on the occasion of the G20 leaders’ summit, the World Bank Group has announced the creation of an innovative new facility that aims to enable more than $1 billion to advance women’s entrepreneurship and help women in developing countries gain increased access to the finance, markets, and networks necessary to start and grow a business.
The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), the first World Bank-led facility to advance women’s entrepreneurship at this scale, will work to enable more than $1 billion of financing to improve access to capital, provide technical assistance, and invest in other projects and programs that support women and women-led SMEs in World Bank Group client countries. The goal of the facility is to leverage donor grant funding – currently over US$325 million – to unlock more than $1 billion in IFI and commercial financing by working with financial intermediaries, funds, and other market actors.
Women Entrepreneurs Face Many Challenges
- It is estimated that women-owned entities represent just over 30 percent of formal, registered businesses worldwide.
- Yet, seventy percent of women-owned SMEs in developing countries are either shut out by financial institutions or are unable to receive financial services on adequate terms to meet their needs. This results in a nearly $300 billion annual credit deficit to formal women-owned SMEs.
- Lack of networks, knowledge, and links to high value markets further constrain female entrepreneurship.
- Moreover, unfavorable business and regulatory environments are among the barriers that still impede women entrepreneurs from accessing finance.
- The fact that many emerging markets financial institutions have yet to develop a sustainable strategy to address this significant market gap represents a missed opportunity and constrains private sector development