In September, USAID CATALYZE joined in a half-day event with USAID INVEST and the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) Gender Equality Initiative, to discuss critical challenges and opportunities related to fostering women’s economic growth through entrepreneurship, and in particular, improved access to finance for women-owned small- to medium-sized enterprises (W-SMEs).
It’s no secret that women entrepreneurs face significant challenges in building their businesses. And it is costing them, with an estimated $1.7 trillion financing gap for women-owned, small, and medium enterprises (W-SMEs). But it’s not just limiting the entrepreneurs themselves – it’s costing society too. When women are empowered economically, they invest back into their families and communities, creating broader prosperity.
This is the first post in a jointly produced three-part blog series entitled, “What’s Working in Supporting Women’s Entrepreneurship?” produced from the discussions at the September 12th learning event hosted by ANDE. Collectively, this series covers the sectors’ success stories and how to recreate their structures to shift purposeful investment into what works, fostering women’s economic growth, and affirming their indispensable role in economic development.