SCOPE

Active projects in 20 countries around the world, with over 80% of funds allocated to IDA and fragility, conflict and violence-affected (FCV) countries

TARGET

Reach 9,500 women entrepreneurs and catalyze $130 million in financing to WSMEs

TIMELINE

Round I: 2018 to 2030

Round III: 2020 to 2025

The World Bank Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (WB We-Fi) program, as part of the $75 mil. World Bank Group We-Fi program implemented jointly with IFC, leverages public and private sector initiatives to enable women entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses. The program relies on country-specific advisory and technical assistance programs, as well as regional initiatives and global activities to undertake data collection, impact evaluations, learning, policy dialogue, and advocacy. These efforts span the three joint World Bank Group pillars and seek to ensure synergies with IFC private sector engagements and the WBG lending portfolio.

1. Strengthening entrepreneurial ecosystems:

  • Support to accelerators and incubators to develop women-led startups connecting them to mentors and investors.

  • Work with governments to pass legal and policy reforms to level the playing field for women entrepreneurs. This work includes the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law Reform Advisory program, aiding governments with the development of reform memoranda and reform implementation in 12 countries.

  • Increase seed funding and equity investments in high-potential WSMEs.

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

2. Expanding financial services:

  • Leveraging existing financial infrastructure to expand lending and services to WSMEs and increase WSME skills, like accessing credit.

  • Supporting banks and providing advisory services to design and deploy products and services for women entrepreneurs.

3. Improving market access:

  • Increasing access to domestic, regional and global value chains, and producer networks for women-led businesses. This includes work to support WSMEs in corporate and public procurement, selected supply chains, and stimulating corporations and governments to procure more from women-led businesses.

  • Enabling WSME commercialization, trade and exports through electronic platforms.

  • Creating an inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem in Iraq and Jordan within the MENA region. The program will strengthen the pipeline of investment-ready women-led and women-owned startups, providing access to networks and access to markets. It will offer mentorship programs, personal initiative and investment-readiness training as well as support intermediaries to secure early-stage finance for WSMEs.

In 2020, with the COVID-19 crisis affecting many women-led businesses, the World Bank Group received $16.01 million in the 3rd financing round, including $6.77 million for the World Bank’s program ‘Value chain solutions for WSMEs’. The project includes:

  • Digitally enabled access to finance and markets for WSMEs in the Sahel region. The program will foster market linkages between suppliers and buyers across the Sahel. It will provide services and training to women-led shea butter cooperatives on know-how, networks, and marketing tools as well as support the digitization of payment systems.

Program Contact

Jana Malinska (jmalinska@worldbank.org)

Implementing Partner Proposals

Round I (2018)
Round III (2020)