Women Entrepreneurs: Fueling Growth in Uncertain Times


As the global economy faces a multitude of challenges, a powerful solution lies in supporting women entrepreneurs in developing economies. These resilient changemakers not only drive innovation and job creation but also promote inclusive growth – a vital quality in today’s uncertain times. ANDE, a leading organization empowering women’s entrepreneurship, is at the forefront of this movement, offering crucial support and tackling systemic barriers.

In the face of a persistent pandemic, supply chain disruptions, escalating costs, and regional conflicts casting a shadow on the global economy, the impact is felt most acutely in developing countries. However, amidst these challenges, a potent opportunity emerges – the potential for the flourishing of women-led businesses.

Women entrepreneurs in developing economies serve as catalysts for innovation, job creation, and economic prosperity within their communities. Despite grappling with substantial obstacles such as limited access to finance, mentorship, and market opportunities, these trailblazers persist in overcoming societal biases.

According to estimates by the IFC and World Bank, achieving gender parity in entrepreneurship could contribute a staggering US$5-6 trillion to the global economic output. Moreover, women-led firms, demonstrating inclusive growth and resilience, are six times more likely to employ women – qualities paramount in the current uncertain environment.

ANDE, a leading organization championing women’s entrepreneurship, is unwavering in its commitment to empowering these change-makers. Initiatives like the Gender Equality Initiative (AGEI), launched in 2019, and the recent endeavors through the ARISE Consortium project demonstrate ANDE and its members’ dedication to dismantling systemic barriers faced by women entrepreneurs.

ARISE, funded by Global Affairs Canada, is a three-year project strategically crafted to expedite the incorporation of gender analysis within investment decisions. This translates into improved gender equality outcomes for women, girls, and non-binary individuals in emerging markets. Collaborating with partners like the Criterion Institute and 2X Global, ARISE focuses on:

  1. Evolving Global Gender-Smart Investment Standards: Establishing best practices for integrating gender analysis into investment decisions to ensure funding reaches women entrepreneurs.
  2. Building a Peer-Learning Community: Fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing among investors and stakeholders dedicated to gender-smart investing.
  3. Promoting Implementation: Utilizing ANDE’s network of locally-led organizations and businesses to champion and implement these standards, creating a lasting impact.

The impact of ANDE’s gender initiative is tangible in the success stories of women entrepreneurs.

      • Amina, a cocoa farmer in Côte d’Ivoire, underwent training and mentorship through an AGEI-supported program, which enabled her to improve yields and secure fair market prices.
      • Maria, a Guatemalan textile entrepreneur, gained access to financing through an AGEI partner, enabling her to expand, hire more women, and become a community leader.
      • Priya, a tech startup founder in India, connected with investors and mentors through an AGEI event, securing crucial funding for her innovative healthcare solution.

These are just a few instances of the myriad of women entrepreneurs building brighter futures.

Beyond funding, a holistic approach is imperative.

Both AGEI and ARISE recognize the need for comprehensive support services, including:

– Business Skills Training: Equipping women with the knowledge and tools needed to manage and grow their businesses effectively.
– Mentorship Opportunities: Connecting women entrepreneurs with experienced mentors who can provide guidance and support throughout their journeys.
– Networking Events: Fostering connections and collaboration among women entrepreneurs, creating a robust and supportive network.
– Market Access:Facilitating connections with potential customers and partners, enabling women entrepreneurs to reach new markets and scale their businesses.

By supporting initiatives like AGEI and ARISE, we can pave the way for a world where all women entrepreneurs have the tools and resources they need to thrive. It has become integral to our mission to empower women to drive economic growth, social change, and a more equitable future for all. 

Join us this International Women’s Day in celebrating the power of women’s entrepreneurship!

Learn more about ANDE’s gender work here.
Check out the ARISE research grant winners here.