As COVID-19 continues to disrupt the global economy and society, women have been hit hard in all aspects of socio-economic life, including a widening of the gender financing gap. Women’s SMEs represent a large untapped source of job creation and economic growth in developing countries and will be essential for economic turnaround during the post-pandemic recovery.
To address the financing gap and help women’s SMEs grow to their full potential, Investing in Women, an initiative of the Australian Government, has partnered with the Foundation for a Sustainable Society, Inc. (FSSI). Investing in Women and FSSI will jointly invest over PHP 80 Million (AUD 2.5 Million) to support the business growth of women’s SMEs. This partnership comes at a critical time as many SMEs are struggling with the impact of COVID-19, and re-opening of business is essential to economic recovery. The partnership will adopt the gender-lens investing model that will go beyond generating financial return for the enterprises, but will also focus on the benefits to women, both through improving economic opportunities and social well-being. Investment returns will be re-invested to support more women entrepreneurs over time.
“Australia is providing targeted and practical assistance to support women entrepreneurs to manage the severe economic impact of COVID-19 in South East Asia. The Investing in Women partnership with FSSI is integral to this effort, and we are committed to support the women’s SME sector in the Philippines. We look forward to a successful partnership with FSSI,” said Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven J. Robinson AO.
A Philippine-based foundation, FSSI has been investing in social enterprises for the past 25 years. With its focus on the triple bottom lines of People, Planet, and Profit, the organisation has supported over 200 partners that improve access and increase economic participation of marginalised sectors including women, indigenous peoples, and small farmers and fisherfolk. The partnership with Investing in Women will leverage the capabilities of the Foundation’s consortium partners, the National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO) and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), to deliver much needed capacity building and mentoring to the women-led SMEs. NATCCO will contribute its expertise in cooperative management and governance, while PBSP will provide know-how in building community enterprises and facilitating market linkages.
“We are grateful for our partnership with Australia and Investing in Women in narrowing the financing gap for women’s SMEs, helping them respond to evolving market conditions and scale their operations to fully realise their opportunities,” said FSSI Executive Director Sixto Donato C. Macasaet.
IRIS GOKEELAO, Partnership Coordinator, Impact Investing, Investing in Women, +63 2 5304 9153, firstname.lastname@example.org.