Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative

  Jan 27, 2022

Making 2022 a Pivotal Year for Women Entrepreneurs

By Wendy Teleki, Head of We-Fi Secretariat

I believe 2022 will be a pivotal year for women entrepreneurs and our work at We-Fi. Having adjusted for pandemic circumstances, We-Fi’s projects in more than 50 countries are poised to reach more women entrepreneurs than ever. Exciting new We-Fi projects continue to be launched, like IFC’s ScaleX, which incentivizes accelerators to deliver on financing for women entrepreneurs, and ADB’s project with Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPB), which will increase funding for under-served women entrepreneurs in Vietnam. In April, we will allocate new funds to address systemic finance and data gaps and accelerate digital adoption by women-led enterprises. Recognizing the setbacks women entrepreneurs have faced due to COVID, we are also engaging with stakeholders to define a clear vision and plan for We-Fi’s next term. Read more...

Photo credit: EBRD/Bishek UPTK Mon and ZAM LLC

Voices from the field:

Inspiration by Women Entrepreneurs

We feature original stories about the dedication, struggles, and grit of women entrepreneurs that We-Fi support in developing countries.

Sowing the Seeds of Breakthrough: Women Entrepreneurs in Tunis
Fatma Ben Soltane has ambitious plans for Fierce, the sustainable sportswear and activewear brand she founded in 2019. Now, she is expanding the collection and wants to become a market leader in Tunisia. In this article, she recounts how arduous the journey to success has been for her and how the support she received from Flat6Labs, IFC - International Finance Corporation, and Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) is making a difference in her business. Read the story.
Q&A with Priscilla Veras, Founder, Muda Meu Mundo
Muda Meu Mundo, a startup based in Brazil, is working to bridge the supply chain gap by connecting retailers with small farmers, leveraging data and mobile technology. We spoke with Priscilla Veras, founder, and CEO of the company, and asked her to share her experience as a female entrepreneur working in the agribusiness sector. Read the story...
Read More Stories


Expanding access to finance in Vietnam

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has signed a US$25 million loan with Tien Phong Commercial Bank (TPB), including a technical assistance grant from We-Fi, to expand access to finance of women-owned and led small and medium-sized enterprises (WSMEs) in Vietnam. Learn more...

IFC announces ScaleX, two other programs

International Finance Corporation (IFC) this month announced the launch of ScaleX. This performance-based initiative will provide an award of up to $25,000 to business accelerators that have helped women-led companies in emerging markets raise equity financing. IFC is also investing in Ibtikar Fund II to support early-stage entrepreneurs, spur innovation, and drive economic growth in the West Bank and Gaza. Similarly, the institution had previously announced the launch of She WINS Arabia to help women-led startups across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) get the advice, mentorship, and finance they need to grow. The three programs are backed by We-Fi.

BRAVE Women on business resilience

In December 2021, Business Resilience Assistance for Value-adding Enterprises for Women in Nigeria (BRAVE Women Nigeria), an initiative backed by We-Fi, funded through the Islamic Development Bank-funded, and implemented by Nigeria’s Bank of Industry, organized capacity-building training on business resilience for SMEs across the country. Some of the women entrepreneurs who participated shared testimonials regarding the knowledge gained about business registration, regulation and compliance, accounting and stock taking, etc. Learn more...

Transitioning women entrepreneurs to formal economies

The African Development Bank Group’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative is calling for project ideas to help transition women entrepreneurs from informal to formal economies. Approved proposals will receive between $150,000 and $250,000 in funding. The deadline for submission is 25 February 2022. Learn more...

Accelerating female-led STEM startups

As part of an effort to close the gender gap in STEM,
IDB Lab, with support from We-Fi, launched its LAC Women's Accelerator Program to connect founders in Latin America and the Caribbean with expert knowledge and potential investors. A feature story in Latin America Business Stories spotlights some entrepreneurs who benefited from the program. Learn more...


Gender Equality and Development +10

The World Bank Group’s yearlong Gender Equality and Development +10: Accelerate Equality initiative launched this month with a high-level event, “Looking Back to Spring Forward”. Click here to watch the recap...

Digitalization for women's economic advancement

A new toolkit, "Using Digital Solutions to Address Barriers to Female Entrepreneurship," has been developed by World Bank. The toolkit will provide practical guidance to practitioners to effectively analyze, design, and measure technology-enabled solutions to advance women's entrepreneurship. Learn more... 

Sixteen defining moments for gender equality in 2021

From women at the forefront of the ongoing fight against COVID-19, new laws to support survivors of gender-based violence, women occupying the highest political offices, to eliminating gender stereotypes in advertising, read this article by UN Women celebrating some of the small and big strides for gender equality in 2021.

Implementing Partners


Women's Empowerment Principles 101 - Empowering Women in the Workplace, Marketplace and Community

February 3, 2022 | 11 AM EST 
This event by UN Women and the United Nations Global Compact will provide an overview of the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) and how the WEPs provide a strong framework to support companies when striving for gender equality in the workplace, marketplace, and community. Learn more...

Breaking Barriers: Female Entrepreneurs Who Cross Over to Male-Dominated Sectors

February 10, 2022 | 9:00 AM EST
This event is part of the World Bank Group’s yearlong Gender Equality and Development +10: Accelerate Equality initiative, which explores the important progress made and lessons learned in reducing gender gaps and increasing women’s economic empowerment. Learn more...

Save the date: CSW66

March 14 - 25 2022
The sixty-sixth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66) will take place from 14 to 25 March 2022 in a hybrid format. Learn more...
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