ADB receives Funding to access Critical Financing and Training in Việt Nam and the Pacific

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has received US$20.2 million from the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) to support women-led small and medium-sized enterprises (WSMEs) to access critical financing and training in Việt Nam and the Pacific.

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

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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) programme, which aims to promote inclusive and sustainable growth and development through women’s businesses and entrepreneurship. Approximately 5,000 women-led SMEs from Việt Nam and the Pacific will benefit from the 5-year programme.

ADB Social Development Specialist (Gender and Development), Keiko Nowacka said, “Women’s businesses have a crucial role to play in the Asia Pacific region’s efforts to achieve inclusive and sustainable development, but social and economic barriers will have to be addressed for women to realise this potential.”

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

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The WAVES programme will address these constraints by focusing on the three areas of WSMEs’ development – access to finance, capacity development, and enabling environment.

National partners including Government agencies, civil society organisations, and women’s business associations, meanwhile, will be mobilised to support the design and implementation of gender-responsive regulations, policies, and action plans to foster a more conducive environment for women-led businesses to thrive and expand.

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

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We-Fi is governed by 14 founding contributing countries and is managed by the World Bank. It aims to mobilise more than $1 billion in commercial and international financial institution finance to afford women entrepreneurs access to debt, equity, venture capital, insurance products, and other opportunities to link with domestic and global markets. The aim is to improve the business environment for women-owned or led SMEs.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members – 49 from the region.