The workshop highlighted findings from a recent research “Venture Capital and the Gender Financing Gap: The Role of Accelerators”, developed by IFC and the World Bank Group Gender Innovation Lab, in partnership with Village Capital and We-Fi. The report revealed the steep differences between financing for male and female-led start-ups post-acceleration. The study shows that despite women lead half the start-ups that participate in accelerators, they continue to face unequal access to capital, with the perceived risk and investor bias being the most likely causes. The workshop participants brainstormed how accelerators and funders can design programs to help women entrepreneurs access capital and scale up their businesses.
Women, Business & the Law Workshop
The workshop was kicked off by Kelly E. Currie, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, followed by Gharam Dexter, Legal Specialist at the World Bank, who presented a deep dive into the latest findings and indicators of the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law Report. Key reformers in the MENA region, including Hanan Ahli (Executive Director of Competitiveness Sector at the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, UAE), Dr. Eiman Al-Mutairi (Assistant Minister for Commerce and Investment, Saudi Arabia), and Dr. Abla Amawi (Secretary-General of the Higher Population Council of Jordan) shared their experiences in expanding women’s economic opportunities through legal reform.
James Howe (Senior Adviser International Marketing, Branding and e-Commerce) of the International Trade Centre (ITC) conducted an “E-Commerce clinic” to provide women entrepreneurs with insights to expand their market reach, which included a discussion about key e-commerce challenges and barriers. Entrepreneurs also participated in a self-assessment of e-commerce maturity using an online tool and heard about the ITC approach (E-commerce Connect Programme) to building the capacity for digital trade in developing countries. The discussion was also facilitated by World Bank Senior Private Sector Specialists, Komal Mohindra and Meriem Slimane.