The Asian Development Bank (ADB) was granted $12.6 million under We-Fi’s first round of funding for a program on “Enabling an Empowering Business Environment for Women Entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka”. This single, multi-pronged program builds on an existing line of credit channeled via commercial banks in Sri Lanka. It is designed to: (i) facilitate access to finance for up to 616 WSMEs in Colombo and lagging areas of Sri Lanka; (ii) build capacity, provide access to training and mentoring for 250 women entrepreneurs; (iii) support an additional 450 WSMEs through an e-platform; (iv) provide direct investment and advisory support to 10 participating financial institutions to improve gender-inclusive financial products and services to women; and (v) offer technical assistance to government agencies to improve the policy and regulatory environment. It also focuses on data collection and evidence-building on women’s entrepreneurship and includes an impact evaluation. It expects to make a significant dent in reducing Sri Lanka’s gender credit gap, estimated at $350 million.

To date, 314 WSMEs have received grants totaling $2.8 million. Consultations with stakeholders are underway to prepare a Gender Inclusive policy and regulatory framework. 500 women entrepreneurs will begin capacity building training in May 2019. Impact evaluation has been designed and will start implementation alongside grants and training.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) was granted $20.2 million for a program on “Women Accelerating Vibrant Enterprises in Southeast Asia and the Pacific” (WAVES). WAVES will support more than 5,105 women-owned or led businesses in the Pacific and Vietnam and will foster long-term behavior change among key stakeholders in the private and public sectors. Access to finance will be expanded through performance-based lending in Vietnam, and a pioneering gender bond in Southeast Asia and the Pacific will be issued in Fiji. ADB will work with national partners to conduct the first nation-wide survey of women’s businesses across the Pacific; and will support implementation of the gender provisions under Vietnam’s business law. Women’s capacity and confidence to run successful businesses will be developed via financial literacy, business acceleration, and mentorship programs to increase their contributions to building inclusive and dynamic economies.

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