Strive Community
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Strive Community

What are we learning about supporting women-owned small businesses with digital finance?

Today is International Women’s Day, a day to recognize women’s achievements and take action to drive gender parity. This year’s theme is #EmbraceEquity, with a focus that gender equity needs to be part of every society’s DNA.

At Strive Community, we couldn’t agree more. Globally, one in three businesses are owned by women, who often face major financial and non-financial constraints. For instance, women encounter obstacles in financing, owning, and growing a business. IFC estimates a $1.7 trillion gap in financing for formal, women-owned small businesses worldwide (approximately one-third of the total financing gap), who account for an outsized share of the overall finance gap for micro- and small businesses.

We recently published an insight brief that explores digital finance for women-owned businesses. The brief takes a closer look at how digital financial services (DFS) are offering opportunities to micro- and small women-owned businesses around the globe. We provide examples of positive impacts that women business owners have experienced through adopting and using DFS and outline where more work needs to be done. We also highlight what we are learning about how to support women-owned businesses with DFS, including:

We remain committed to promoting the meaningful use of relevant financial services, especially for women-owned small businesses, which often experience significant financial and digital constraints. In Nigeria, we’re working with Boost Technology to develop and test how data analysis, behavioral science, and conversational commerce can empower female small retailers to digitalize their businesses and increase their digital confidence. In Colombia, we’re working with Open Contracting Partnership, building on their ongoing work to create a solution to unlock financing for small businesses, particularly women-owned businesses that are awarded government contracts. More recently, we’ve partnered with Accion to digitally empower MSEs throughout Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, with a particular focus on women.

Looking ahead, we invite you to explore this insight brief in more detail and share with us what you’re learning about supporting women-owned small businesses with DFS. As we uncover insights and best practices about digital financial services for women-owned small businesses, we will continue to share our learning.

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Strive Community is a global philanthropic initiative launched by Caribou Digital and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. The program will equip 5 million small business owners with innovative digital solutions that unleash their potential as catalysts of inclusive growth

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Janet Shulist

Insights Manager for Strive Community program, which will empower five million small businesses to survive and grow by going digital.