Access to capital

A fund for female entrepreneurs

Owner of a hairdressing and beauty salon in Kenya

Promoting the economic empowerment of women was one of the major topics on Germany's G20 agenda during its Presidency. Women's equal participation in economic and working life contributes to a country's sustainable development. Helping women to be actively involved in the economy is a way to reduce poverty and inequality and promote economic growth.

However, women still face numerous legal and social obstacles when seeking access to the formal labour market. The gap between the percentage of women in the labour market and the percentage of men is still huge. Still far too few women set up their own businesses.

That is why, at their Hamburg summit, the G20 followed the proposal made by Germany and the US and announced an initiative to give women entrepreneurs better access to funding (Women Entrepreneurs Financing Initiative). This initiative is helping female entrepreneurs to set up, expand and manage their businesses.

It will be implemented by a fund administered by the World Bank. G20 countries, foundations and other donors are invited to make funding contributions. The fund was launched at the World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings in October 2017, with an initial volume of 340 million US dollars. The fund will, for instance, help women entrepreneurs to expand an existing business or provide start-up capital to set up a business.

The initiative also aims to enable women to gain access to professional networks and mentors. This will empower women, enabling them to run successful businesses and be competitive. The Women Entrepreneurs Financing Initiative is to tie in with existing programmes by the World Bank Group on the economic empowerment of women. This will increase the value added of the investments and help to somewhat close the funding gap for women entrepreneurs.

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