Report by GPFI and IFC Explores ‘Strengthening Access to Finance for Women-Owned SMEs in Developing Countries’

Sunday 30th October 2011

The rationale for a separate report on women entrepreneurs’ access to finance is that while there are about 8 to 10 million formal women-owned SMEs in emerging markets (representing 31 to 38 percent of all SMEs in emerging markets), the average growth rate of women’s enterprises is significantly lower than the average growth rate for SMEs run by men. A number of factors have been investigated as contributing to the slow growth of women-owned businesses, including institutional and regulatory issues, lack of access to finance, relatively low rates of business education or work experience, risk aversion, confinement of women’s businesses to slower growth sectors, and the burden of household management responsibilities. As access to finance is repeatedly identified as a major constraint to women entrepreneurs, this report sets out to analyze the issues involved in improving access to finance for women-owned businesses. It also aims to identify scalable financing models that can be replicated in G-20 and interested non-G20 countries looking to increase the opportunities of women-owned businesses as those nations further develop their private sector.

this report highlights key trends, challenges, and opportunities for advancing women’s entrepreneurship and increasing their access to finance. Due to their high growth potential, women-owned SMEs in developing countries are of particular interest. the report therefore focuses on the presence of womenowned SMEs in developing countries across different types of enterprises, and the ability of these business owners to access finance to grow their businesses; identifies financial and non-financial institutions with scalable approaches to increase access to finance for women entrepreneurs in developing countries; pinpoints specific knowledge gaps for which further research is recommended; and, provides policy recommendations on expanding access to finance for women entrepreneurs.

Click here to see the full report