Over US$21 million in support of women-led SMEs in Vietnam and Pacific

14:44 | 21/05/2019 Companies

The Asian Development Bank (ADB), through the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), is committed to providing support worth nearly US$20.2 million for women-led small and medium-sized enterprises (WSMEs) in Vietnam and the Pacific to access critical financing and training.

The financial support is expected to help women-led SMEs in Vietnam and the Pacific to access critical financing and training - Photo: NDO

The grant - the second that ADB has received from We-Fi - will finance the Women Accelerating Vibrant Enterprises in Southeast Asia and the Pacific (WAVES) program, which aims to promote inclusive and sustainable growth and development through women’s businesses and entrepreneurship.

Approximately 5,000 women-led SMEs from Vietnam and the Pacific will benefit from the five-year program.

Women-led businesses comprise roughly 60% of all micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises in Asia and the Pacific. However, they face capital constraints, which hamper their growth and development, while the women heading these businesses have limited access to business training or targeted government support.

The WAVES program is expected to address the constraints by focusing on the three areas of WSMEs’ development, including access to finance, capacity development, and an enabling environment.

The program will improve WSMEs’ access to finance through innovative financial approaches including performance-based pricing in Vietnam and the first gender bond in the Pacific.

The WAVES program will focus on the capacity development of women through financial literacy and business acceleration programs, mentorship, and networking opportunities, with a view of equipping them with the necessary skills to run and expand their enterprises. It will contribute to strengthening evidence and data on WSMEs in order to better inform policies and interventions moving forward.

In April 2018, ADB received a US$12.6 million grant from We-Fi - which is managed by the World Bank - to promote women entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka. ADB has been investing in women’s entrepreneurship in the Asia and Pacific region as part of its commitment to advancing women’s economic empowerment, which is one of the operational priorities of its newly adopted Strategy 2030. By 2030, it is expected that 75% of all ADB projects will promote gender equality.

Theo NDO