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This week’s WE Talks is a collaboration with 2X Challenge

Ensuring Economic Emergency Programs Reach Women-led SMEs


When: Tuesday, May 05, 2020 | 10:00-11:00AM EDT / 2:00-3:00PM GMT
Where: WebEx Webinar

All over the world, we are seeing the massive impact the coronavirus crisis is having on small and medium-sized businesses. Women-led SMEs, traditionally over-represented in trade, small manufacturing and services sectors, will be among the hardest hit. Today we fear that important advances made by women entrepreneurs in developing economies over the past years may be erased as the impact of the coronavirus is felt around the world. A gender-sensitive response to the COVID crisis by investors, NGOs, multilateral financiers and other practitioners is essential to protect the gains of recent yeas and ensure businesses run by women can survive and thrive through this crisis.

The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) is launching WE Talks, working with like-minded partners to share real-time experiences and best practices for supporting women entrepreneurs during the COVID-19 crisis.


On May 5th, We-Fi and 2X Challenge (an initiative by Development Finance Institutions to invest in women in emerging markets) are joining forces to discuss the gender focus of rapid response programs in developing economies. This webinar is intended for representatives of donor organizations, private sector, NGOs, and development finance institutions and provides insights from organizations designing and implementing concrete solutions for women during this time of crisis.

Experts will explore:

  • What kinds of rapid-response activities can have an immediate impact on women entrepreneurs?
  • How to ensure emergency programs supporting SMEs more generally are making their way to women entrepreneurs?
  • What are the key factors COVID-response programs are taking into account to support women entrepreneurs specifically?


Host & Co-Moderator: Wendy Teleki, Head of the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) Secretariat, World Bank Group

Moderator: Anne-Marie Levesque, Head of Gender and Impact, FinDev Canada and Chair, 2X Working Group

Speaker: Caren Grown, Senior Director for Gender, World Bank Group

Discussant: Jessica Espinoza, Global Gender Finance Lead and Senior Investment Manager, DEG

Discussant: Stephanie Oueda Cruz, Head of Gender and Diversity at IDB Invest, Inter-American Development Bank