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By Wendy Teleki

A recent study by McKinsey has some astounding numbers about the disproportionately negative impact of the pandemic on women in the economy.  According to the study, just taking measures to eliminate the regressive impact of the crisis on women could add a trillion dollars to the economy by 2030.  But if measures were taken immediately to truly move the global economy towards gender equality, we could add $13 trillion to the global economy by 2030.  Could there be a better case to invest in women to build back better?

In this spirit, We-Fi passed an exciting milestone in July with the approval of a $50 million allocation for  EBRD, IDB, IsDB and World Bank group programs to support women entrepreneurs around the world.  These funds will support women-led businesses in the context of the COVID-19 crisis, digital transformation, supply chain integration and early-stage financing.  They are expected to provide much-needed support for 15,000 women, and will mobilize $350 million of additional public and private sector resources.

Over the past two months, ongoing We-Fi projects have also made significant progress.  IDB’s recent Gender Bond, dedicated exclusively to financing women entrepreneurs in Colombia, is a landmark transaction. In August, IDB Lab launched WExchange, a competition for high-growth women entrepreneurs in scientific and technology sectors in Latin America and the Caribbean. With We-Fi support, the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law team has achieved real breakthroughs when several important reforms were enacted in the MENA region, including Jordan, Pakistan, and UAE.

We-Fi is excited about three upcoming events that promise to expand our understanding of what works and how we can more fulsomely engage to support women entrepreneurs. We are partnering with the Finance Alliance for Women for their Fintech Hackathon on October 5th, which aims to identify innovative and inclusive fintech solutions to support women’s access and use of banking, wealth and asset management, insurance, and payment services. We are also actively participating in the Gender-Smart Investing Summit, a global initiative dedicated to unlocking gender-smart capital at scale – which will be delivered as a series of virtual events through 2020 and into February 2021. The Global SME Finance Awards, a flagship program of the SME Finance Forum, will announce this year’s winners on October 27, 2020. We-Fi is proud to sponsor the “Best Bank for Women Entrepreneurs 2020” award and can’t wait to congratulate all the awardees for their support to SMEs and women-led businesses.

We look forward to seeing you there!