UN Launches a Women Enterprise Recovery Fund

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), with support from the Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank (FMO), the Government of Canada, and Visa Inc. have launched a 'Women Enterprise Recovery Fund: Promoting and Upscaling Digital Solutions for Enhancing Women Enterprise Growth and Resilience'.

''Through this Fund, we will support innovative business solutions that address the constraints faced by women enterprises in South and South-East Asia. These solutions are especially crucial today as we know women enterprises have suffered disproportionately from COVID-19. Now is the opportunity to innovate and find solutions that recover better and build resilience. UNCDF is grateful to ESCAP, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Government of Canada, the Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank (FMO) and Visa Inc. for their collaboration and support to advance women enterprises through this Innovation Fund mechanism,'' said UNCDF Deputy Executive Secretary Xavier Michon.

Applicants to the Fund can be based anywhere globally, but the project implementation and solution must target women enterprises in one or more of the following countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, or Viet Nam. Eligible applicants who can apply for the Fund include regulated financial institutions, FinTechs, technology institutions, among others, according to a message received Monday from the ESCAP office in Bangkok.

''The Fund will provide up to US$ 50,000 in co-funding to innovative solutions, along with technical assistance provided through our extensive partner networks. We are pleased to be partnered with UNCDF, FMO, the Government of Canada and Visa Inc. on this exciting initiative, which will bring to market innovative financial and business solutions for women entrepreneurs who have been impacted by the pandemic,'' said ESCAP Deputy Executive Secretary Kaveh Zahedi.

''FMO is exceptionally pleased to partner with UNCDF and ESCAP to launch the Women Enterprise Recovery Fund. We believe collaboration with private-sector innovators in the design and implementation of digital solutions is fundamental to help women enterprises that have been economically impacted by COVID-19. We are confident the fund will create a catalytic effect in the MSMEs ecosystems across Asia, showcasing viable digital solutions and sustainable business models to respond to the needs of formal and informal women-led enterprises,'' said Andrew Shaw, FMO Capacity Development Manager.

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