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Female entrepreneurs in developing countries are concentrated in low productivity and informal sectors, characterized by limited growth, according to the recent World Bank report, Gender at Work. As a result they are unable to grow from micro and small enterprises into medium/large productive enterprises and contribute to national economies in a significant way. According to the ILO, 865 million women in the world have the potential to contribute more fully to their national economies and 94% (812 million) of them live in emerging and developing economies. Unlocking the potential of female entrepreneurs would lift millions out of poverty, create jobs, increase incomes, and have important spillover effects that lead to greater economic, social, and household-level outcomes.
The session provides an overview of key challenges in designing and implementing programs for women entrepreneurs. It goes on to discuss continued gaps in programs going forward and the next generation of support to women in business. Potential challenges including scaling up are also discussed.
Patricia Greene, Paul T. Babson Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Babson College
Esperanza Lasagabaster, Service Line Manager, Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship Practice
Lucia C. Hanmer, Lead Economist, Gender and Development Group
Mary Hallward-Driemeier, Lead Economist, Financial and Private Sector Development