Women in Business Programme

Why women?

Women’s entrepreneurship matters for growth

We know that women’s entrepreneurship plays a key role in creating jobs and driving economic growth. As something that reflects the situation of half the world’s population, we firmly believe that creating equality of opportunity for women in business is not only a gender issue, but also an economic priority. That’s why, in the countries where we work, we aim to offer women entrepreneurs the support they need to succeed and be more engaged in business.

Beyond employment to empowerment

Supporting women entrepreneurs through finance and know-how contributes to women’s financial independence and empowerment, as well as to economic growth. Research shows that if the gender credit gap is closed by 2020 in just 15 countries, per capita incomes could, on average, be 12 per cent higher by 20301.

Helping economic engines run at full speed

Women entrepreneurs contribute to the economy through:

  • Job creation. Women-led businesses, like the rest of the SME sector, are an important source of job creation. An estimated 48 million female entrepreneurs and 64 million female business owners currently employ one or more people in their businesses2

  • More women in the labour force participation, through self-employment. The GDP gains associated with closing gender gaps in the labour market have been estimated in double digits for OECD countries (e.g. 10 per cent for the United States or 11 per cent for Germany by closing gaps in the next 15 years) with an even larger effect in emerging economies3

  • Improved productivity. If women-led businesses had the type of finance that they needed, and quality advisory services, they could also contribute to improve productivity by shifting their businesses from low-quality, low productivity sectors to higher-value added ones.

1 Giving Credit Where it is Due, Goldman Sachs (February 2014)
2 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Women’s Report 2012
3 OECD, 2012, Closing the Gender Gap Now. Paris: OECD.