June 30, 2021
The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) is pleased to announce its fourth call for proposals. This round has been designed to enable We-Fi to be more strategic and targeted in addressing the current challenges and opportunities for women entrepreneurs in the context of the COVID crisis.
The pandemic has increased credit market vulnerabilities which can disproportionately affect WSMEs who tend to have less access to finance and less well established relationships with their financial institutions. Encouraging the systematic collection and use of sex-disaggregated data on SME finance, is a critical step to eliminate a key bottleneck to expanding WSME access to finance. The pandemic has also presented a massive challenge to WSMEs that had not previously embraced digital technologies, and a significant opportunity for those that could quickly pivot. It continues to be vital to help women entrepreneurs adopt and apply digital technologies to enhance resilience, innovate, and drive growth in this rapidly changing market context.
Accordingly, up to $50 million of financing is available for new project or program proposals as well as top-up proposals addressing the following COVID sub-themes:
1) Leveraging Finance & Data to drive the systemic changes needed to support WSMEs to build back better from the COVID crisis, and
2) Harnessing the transformative power of digital technologies for WSMEs to build back better from the COVID crisis.
We-Fi’s Governing Committee seeks to provide funding for proposals that demonstrate: 1) ability to address direct or systemic COVID challenges faced by WSMEs, 2) mobilization/leverage of significant additional funding from other sources; 3) a focus on low- income countries, IDA and/or fragile and conflict-affected countries/territories and/or underserved women entrepreneurs in middle-income countries, including in forcibly displaced communities; 4) demonstrate potential to be transformational or scale impact through mobilization, strategic partnerships or other mechanisms.
Eligible funding proposals must be submitted by accredited multilateral development banks (MDBs); African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Inter-American Development Bank, World Bank Group, including International Finance Corporation, and Islamic Development Bank Group. Strategic partnerships and collaboration with private sector entities and non-profit is encouraged. Accredited MDBs must complete all sections of the We-Fi Funding Request Template and submit by November 15, 2021.
For additional information, please refer to the links below: