Women start businesses with less capital than men and have less access to capital to expand their enterprises. Financing options, availability of capital, and their associated costs drive firm size, determining a company’s ability to compete, respond to evolving market conditions, and scale operations to realize market opportunities.
In developing countries, an estimated 70% of women-owned small and medium-sized enterprises in the formal sector are unserved or underserved by financial institutions — a financing gap reaching US$ 287 billion. In East Asia and the Pacific, this financial gap runs to US$ 68 billion.
Investing in Women, an initiative of the Australian government, was designed to support the growth of impact investing for women’s SMEs in Southeast Asia. Launched in 2016, the Investing in Women Initiative promotes women’s economic empowerment by redressing socio-cultural barriers to women’s full economic participation, whether in leadership positions, access to capital, labor force participation, or workplace equity.
Within impact investing, the program seeks to expand access to — and control over — economic resources for women entrepreneurs.
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