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Female Entrepreneurs and the Entrepreneurial Eco-system: Gaps and New Approaches
March 10, 2014Washington, D.C.

The Financial and Private Sector Development Group's Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship Global Practice, the Gender & Development Group, and the Africa Region (West and Central) invite you to the first session in the series: "Women Entrepreneurs -- A New Approach to Growth and Shared Prosperity."


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

  • Patricia G. Greene

    Patricia G. Greene is the Paul T. Babson Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Babson College where she formerly served first as Dean of the Undergraduate School and later as Provost. Prior to joining Babson she held the Ewing Marion Kauffman/Missouri Chair in Entrepreneurial Leadership at the University of Missouri – Kansas City and even earlier the New Jersey Chair of Small Business and Entrepreneurship at Rutgers University. Her current assignment at Babson is as the national academic director for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses initiative and advisor to the 10,000 Women program. She has taught entrepreneurship on every continent except Australia and she practices what she preaches as a co-owner of Artworks, a homegoods specialty store in Gettysburg, PA.
  • Mary Hallward-Driemeier

    Mary Hallward-Driemeier, a Canadian national, is Lead Economist for Financial and Private Sector Development in the World Bank Group. Since joining the World Bank as a Young Professional in 1997, she has published articles on entrepreneurship, firm productivity, the impact of the investment climate on firm performance, the impact of financial crises, and determinants of foreign direct investment. She was the Deputy Director for the World Development Report 2005: A Better Investment Climate for Everyone. She helped establish the World Bank’s Enterprise Surveys Program, now covering over 100,000 enterprises in 100 countries. She is also a founding member of the Microeconomics of Growth Network. She is currently the Task Team Leader for the regional flagship report “Expanding Economic Opportunities for Women in Africa.” She received her M.Sc. in development economics from Oxford University and her Ph.D. in economics from M.I.T.
  • Esperanza Lasagabaster

    Esperanza Lasagabaster is Service Line Manager of the Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship Global Practice, Financial and Private Sector Development Network, at the World Bank. In her work, she delivers policy advice on the design and implementation of policies and programs to foster innovation and entrepreneurship. She formerly worked as a Senior economist in the Europe and Central Asia, Latin America, and South Asia regions of the World Bank, and the Institute of International Finance. She has researched and published on innovation and entrepreneurship policy. She earned a Ph.D. and a M.Sc. in economics from Cornell University.
  • Lucia Hanmer

    Lucia Hanmer is a Lead Economist in the World Bank’s Gender Group. Previously she was a senior economic advisor for the Economic Empowerment Section at UN Women, and a senior economic advisor in the Chief Economist’s Office at the UK’s Department for International Development. She has also been the Country Representative for the World Bank in Guyana. Before moving into development policy she was a researcher at the UK’s Overseas Development Institute and taught economics at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague. She has worked on growth diagnostics, poverty reduction strategies and the PRSP approach, inequality and attaining the MDGs, and gender and development. Much of her work has been in sub-Saharan Africa. She has a Ph.D in Economics from the University of Cambridge.