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17 February 2020

Bangkok, Thailand

By invitation only

In Asia and the Pacific, entrepreneurship is one of the main pathways for women’s economic empowerment and strive towards equality, which may - in turn - create ‘multiplier effects’ on family well-being, poverty reduction and sustainable economic growth. Thus, creating an enabling entrepreneurial ecosystem where women can freely participate to reach their full potential, can yield expansive socio-economic gains stretching from households to communities and economies.

Women’s entrepreneurship has been on the rise over the past twenty years in the Asia-Pacific region. While there are multiple, often inter-connected complex barriers to starting and conducting business across many countries in the region, these barriers tend to be significantly higher for women than men. Some of the main challenges facing women across the region include: (a) legislative frameworks that discriminate, or do not incorporate the specific circumstances, needs and interests of women; (b) limited access to finance, information and communication technologies (ICTs); (c) lack of opportunity for capacity development; (d) discriminatory socio-cultural norms and beliefs. Overcoming these challenges is essential to unlocking the potential of many women to manifest their full economic aspirations and capacities for building better livelihoods, prosperous communities and thriving societies.

ESCAP actively supports its member States in efforts to enhance women’s economic empowerment and entrepreneurship as a strategy for poverty reduction, social wellbeing and sustainable economic growth, towards the progressive realization of SDG 5 on Gender Equality and multiple related goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As part of its support, ESCAP is implementing a five year (2018-2023) regional programme on “Catalyzing Women’s Entrepreneurship - Creating a Gender-Responsive Entrepreneurial Ecosystem” funded by the Government of Canada. The project endeavors to advance women’s economic empowerment and contribute to poverty reduction in the Asia-Pacific region. It aims to increase women entrepreneurs’ access to capital through innovative financing mechanisms, increase women entrepreneurs’ use of business development services and financial technologies, and support the development of gender-responsive business development and investment policies and programs.

Within the framework of this programme, ESCAP in collaboration with Agency for Enterprise Development, Ministry of Planning and Investment of Vietnam to conduct a national consultation in Vietnam to discuss the following:

1. Enabling environment for women’s entrepreneurship;
2. Enabling role of digital technologies to increase access of finance for women entrepreneurs;
3. Leveraging the power of ICT for women’s entrepreneurship

These topics will serve as a forum for policy dialogue, capacity building and networking for key concerned stakeholders across public and private sectors, social organizations, women entrepreneurship incubation/acceleration programmes, innovative financial technology companies, technology startups incubation/acceleration program and impact investors.

The aim is to integrate gender considerations into entrepreneurship development and financial inclusion measures at all levels, contributing to efforts towards gender equality, poverty reduction and economic growth in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The project on “Catalyzing Women’s Entrepreneurship - Creating a Gender-Responsive Entrepreneurial Ecosystem” will also be formally launched on this occasion, on 17 February 2020.

Click here for press release.
Click here for concept note.
Click here for more about the project.

for more information, please contact

Social Development Division +66 2288 1234 [email protected]