I believe 2022 will be a pivotal year for women entrepreneurs and our work at We-Fi. Having adjusted for pandemic circumstances, We-Fi’s projects in more than 50 countries are poised to reach more women entrepreneurs than ever.
Exciting new We-Fi projects continue to be launched, like IFC’s ScaleX, which incentivizes accelerators to deliver on financing for women entrepreneurs, and ADB’s project with Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPB), which will increase funding for under-served women entrepreneurs in Vietnam. In April, we will allocate new funds to address systemic finance and data gaps and accelerate digital adoption by women-led enterprises. Recognizing the setbacks women entrepreneurs have faced due to COVID, we are also engaging with stakeholders to define a clear vision and plan for We-Fi’s next term after our initial 5-year term concludes in October.
As we look to the future, I am thinking a lot about the importance of partnerships. We-Fi’s Mid-Term Review noted that We-Fi plays a unique role in the international aid architecture, given our powerful implementation platform and extensive partnership network. Donors from around the world provide resources, diverse insights, and leadership to guide our work. Our Implementing Partners – including our host, the World Bank, as well as IFC, ADB, AfDB, IDB, EBRD, and IsDB — deliver through the power of their global knowledge and local presence, even the most challenging countries. The 140+ private and public sector partners they work with — banks, corporates, government agencies, funds, accelerators, eCommerce platforms, trainers, and advocates – are committed to innovating, piloting, and investing in new transformational solutions for women entrepreneurs. Many others are allies and advocates alongside us.
As we develop our plan for the future, I am interested in hearing from our partners and other stakeholders, not just on how we can activate this partnership network but how we can leverage it to maximize our impact. Today, a dollar invested in We-Fi is expected to mobilize another $10; can we do better? We support policy changes that remove constraints for WSMEs in one country; can we replicate such successes elsewhere? We-Fi backed credit line can finance underserved WSMEs; can we crowd in the capital markets to do more? Our mentoring programs help women build new networks and access new markets; how can digital technologies help to scale these programs? We help banks use data to design new financial solutions for women entrepreneurs; can we unleash the power of such data across markets?
Your views – as our partners, stakeholders, and allies – are important to us. Therefore, we will be engaging with many of you over the course of this month and next to explore these and other questions. Alternatively, we welcome you to share your ideas with us or take our survey by emailing us.