In late 2020, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Catalyzing Women’s Entrepreneurship (CWE) Programme, partnered with Kiva to conduct primary research on women entrepreneur financial sector borrowers in the region. The CWE research agenda is centered around exploring the nuanced challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in accessing and using financing at different stages of their enterprise journey. The research is designed to be applied towards identifying innovative financial solutions that can be developed or tailored to best address the needs and demands of women entrepreneurs of all sizes and populating different sectors of the economy.
To better understand the needs, challenges, and constraints of women borrowers, this study focused on three main research questions:
1. What challenges do women micro-entrepreneurs face in maintaining and growing their businesses?
2. How can financial service providers improve their services to better fit the needs of women customers?
3. How has COVID-19 specifically impacted women micro-entrepreneurs and how have they adapted?