The U.S. Department of State’s Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, Cathy Russell, together with representatives from Kiva and the Inter-American Development Bank, recently announced the launch of the Global Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund at Kiva’s headquarters in San Francisco.
The Global Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund is a new initiative that will help expand access to finance for women in 83 countries, including Papua New Guinea. Seeking to empower women as entrepreneurs, breadwinners, and leaders, the Fund is aimed at harnessing the untapped economic potential of women entrepreneurs and addressing the barriers they face in accessing finance.When lenders respond to a woman entrepreneur’s request for a loan through Kiva’s online platform, their contributions will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund.
As part of the Fund, the U.S. Department of State will support data collection and analysis to measure how effective the initiative is in expanding women’s access to finance for women entrepreneurs and in finding insights on financial needs and activity of women entrepreneurs. The data collected will help by measuring several indicators, including the size of loans women are taking on, in which industry, and for what purpose.
This new funding initiative responds to the steep challenges facing many women entrepreneurs looking to access capital. According to the International Finance Corporation, as many as 70 percent of women-owned small and medium enterprises in developing economies are unserved or underserved by financial institutions, contributing to a global credit gap of $260 billion to $320 billion for women alone.
Over the course of five years, the Fund will aim to crowdfund loans to one million women entrepreneurs through this unique partnership, matching dollar-for-dollar what Kiva’s lenders provide on Kiva.org. The Fund will enable women entrepreneurs to access loans from $450 to $100,000, and is expected to leverage Kiva’s crowdfunded, risk tolerant, and socially connected capital to help finance the design and delivery of flexible loan products that are tailored to businesswomen’s needs.The new partnership taps into Kiva’s standing as the first and largest crowdfunding platform in the world, with 1.4 million individuals lending to 1.8 million borrowers in 83 countries.
For more information on the U.S. Department of State’s work on global women’s issues, visit: www.state.gov/s/gwi. For additional information on Kiva and funding opportunities, visit the www.kiva.org website.