Project profile — Catalyzing Women’s Entrepreneurship - Creating a Gender-Responsive Entrepreneurial Ecosystem


ESCAP - Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (41106)
2018-03-28 - 2023-12-29
Global Affairs Canada
MFM Global Issues & Dev.Branch

Country / region 

• South Asia, regional (33.33%)
• Far East Asia, regional (33.33%)
• Oceania, regional (33.34%)


• Communication: Information and communication technology (ICT) (22040) (25.00%)
• Banking And Financial Services: Formal sector financial intermediaries (24030) (40.00%)
• Business And Other Services: Business support services and institutions (25010) (35.00%)

Policy marker 

• Gender equality (principal objective)
• Environmental sustainability (cross-cutting) (not targeted)
• Biodiversity (not targeted)
• Climate change mitigation (not targeted)
• Climate Change Adaptation (not targeted)
• Desertification (not targeted)


The project aims to advance women’s economic empowerment and contribute to poverty reduction in the Asia-Pacific region (South Asia, Southeast Asia and the South Pacific). It is designed to address the particular challenges that women-owned micro, small and medium-sized enterprises face in growing their businesses, including access to finance and new technologies. It is designed to increase women’s access to capital through innovative financing mechanisms and women entrepreneurs’ use of business development services and financial technologies. The project supports the development of gender-responsive policies and programs for business development and investment. Project activities include: (1) technical assistance to support innovative financing mechanisms to develop targeted products for women entrepreneurs, including bonds, impact investment funds and financial technology platforms; (2) advisory support and capacity building for policymakers on regulatory frameworks for digital finance; (3) training for women entrepreneurs on using information and communications technologies to plan, manage and grow their businesses; and (4) training for policymakers on developing, implementing and monitoring gender-responsive entrepreneurship initiatives and developing enabling policy frameworks for innovative finance mechanisms.

Expected results 

The expected outcomes for this project include: (1) increased access to finance for women entrepreneurs through innovative financing approaches; (2) increased use of information and communication technologies by women entrepreneurs; and (3) strengthened enabling environment for the advancement of women entrepreneurs.

Results achieved 

Results achieved as of March 2023 include: (1) supported four innovative finance mechanisms that mobilized USD 89.3 million in private capital for investment in women-led enterprises; (2) supported 15 FinTech initiatives that provide business services for women entrepreneurs. This includes improved access to business registration, business information, financial services, online marketing, and bookkeeping; (3) produced 20 knowledge products and organized 33 consultations and workshop sessions that raised policy-makers’ awareness of the challenges and solutions for women entrepreneurs; and (4) improved policy environments provided financial and FinTech solutions to enable 176,000 women entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses.

Budget and spending 

Original budget $0
Planned disbursement $0
Country percentages by sector
Type of finance Aid grant excluding debt reorganisation
Collaboration type Bilateral
Type of aid Project-type interventions
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