Across the Asia-Pacific, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the world of work. Amidst the government lockdown measures and mobility restrictions, the Micro Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (MSME) sector has been hit hard, and women-led businesses specially are facing aggravated challenges given the additional barriers they face compared to their male counterparts.
The pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing challenges for women entrepreneurs in accessing information, finance, technology, and other services critical to starting, sustaining and growing their businesses. Additionally, women entrepreneurs in the Asia Pacific region tend to be operating in the most disadvantaged sectors such as garment, footwear, accommodation, and F&B industries or in the lower ends of value chains. Despite challenges, women entrepreneurs have demonstrated resilience and ability to quickly adapt in a changing environment. To this end, ESCAP and the International Labour Organization (ILO) are jointly organizing this high-level forum on ‘Opportunities and Solutions for Women Entrepreneurs in Asia and the Pacific’, to be held virtually on 18 November 2021.
Held in the backdrop on Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (which is observed on 19th November every year), this event aims to facilitate a dialogue on scalable solutions and innovations for supporting women entrepreneurs in Asia-Pacific region during and beyond COVID-19. The high-level forum will focus on the key areas of policy interventions, access to finance and digital markets, highlighting best practices, ways forward as well as pitfalls and challenges to consider when designing interventions to enable women entrepreneurs to thrive in the new normal.