Active projects in 24 countries around the world, with new countries to be added as projects are developed


Reach 49,494 women entrepreneurs and catalyze $910 million in financing to WSMEs


Round I: 2018 to 2030

Round III: 2020 to 2032

Allocation 2018: Creating Finance and Markets for All

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) was granted $49 million in first financing round in 2018 to lead a wide variety of private sector initiatives for women-led SMEs as part of the $75 million allocation for the World Bank Group program “Creating Finance and Markets for All”. IFC uses We-Fi funds to provide investment and advisory support, in line with blended finance principles. The use of blended finance allows the program to fill financing gaps by addressing market barriers and attracting private sector investments to areas of strategic importance with high development impact.

Jointly with the World Bank We-Fi component, the program is focused on:

  1. Strengthening entrepreneurial ecosystems:

  • Increase seed funding and equity investments in high-potential WSMEs; work includes, among others, mobilizing capital to support WSMEs and advising financial institutions and corporations on how to engage the female market segment.

  • Building WSME capacity and networks and promoting a pipeline of high-growth WSMEs

  1. Expanding financial services;

  • Providing advice and capital to financial institutions to expand lending and services to WSMEs

  • Developing insurance products targeting women-led SMEs

  • Investing in financial institutions, fin-techs and high-growth WSMEs

  1. Improving market access:

  • Developing inclusive sourcing and supply chain finance.

    As part of the program, IFC is rolling out scalable commercial solutions with about 50 private sector clients.

As part of the program, IFC is rolling out scalable commercial solutions with about 50 private sector clients.

Allocation 2020: Enhancing Seed Capital and Technology for WSMEs

In 2020, with the COVID-19 crisis affecting many women-led businesses, IFC received $8.2 million (part of the overall $16.01 grant for the World Bank Group) for the ‘Enhancing seed capital and technology for WSMEs’ program. The program will capitalize on disruptive technologies and innovation to create and expand opportunities for WSMEs, and will build on global and regional research and partnerships with fintech firms to incentivize them to lend to WSMEs and women customers and expand their operations in the Sahel and globally. A set of activities will be implemented across the globe. Components under the Program include:

  • Increasing access to pre-seed and seed-stage equity for women-led startups and enhancing their ability to scale operations and receive follow-on funding;

  • Improving access to finance for WSMEs and women customers through global digital financial services, including fintechs.

Program Contact

Hanh Nam Nguyen (

Aleksandra Liaplina (

Implementing Partner Proposals