It was pushed by the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, with financial support from Global Affairs Canada.
The UN believes women who establish businesses have the potential to achieve economic independence, overcome extreme poverty and improve the well-being of their families and communities. However, many female entrepreneurs face major disadvantages in accessing sufficient finance and technology that prevent them from achieving their full potential.
The world body said: “This unique project seeks to address the challenges and constraints faced by women entrepreneurs through a holistic, multi-pronged approach integrating innovative finance, technology and policy. It will empower women entrepreneurs in the region by utilising innovative financing mechanisms and providing access to technology.”
Launching the project at a High-level side event, Hongjoo Hahm, Officer-in-Charge of ESCAP, emphasised that innovative financing mechanisms, such as Financial Technology (FinTech) solutions and women’s bonds, are emerging to address challenges and increase access to financial resources. However, a paradigm shift to support women entrepreneurs is critical if these promising mechanisms are to be truly inclusive.
“Our ambitions for the initiative are high and we cannot do this alone,” said Hahm. “We will need to work with governments, bilateral donors and private sector companies. But most importantly, we will need to work with and for the aspiring women entrepreneurs to better understand their needs and aspirations. Only by doing this will we effectively harness their potential to help us all to meet the ambitions of the Sustainable Development Goals.”