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Growing women-owned businesses in Latin America and the Caribbean

The positive connection between women, their economic empowerment, the growth of economies, and communities' well-being is increasingly recognized worldwide. However, as global reports by a number of agencies demonstrate, in many contexts gender-specific barriers limit the full development of women's potential. In most developing countries, the number of wage jobs is well below demand, and women tend to be under-represented in wage employment. Under these circumstances, entrepreneurship is a key opportunity for economic empowerment. Women entrepreneurs face specific market access challenges at different stages of business growth that may vary from those facing men. Few resources exist that can provide women-owned and/or women-operated businesses with support to improve their capacity and growth, including connecting to large and international business. Policy makers and business service providers committed to supporting women-owned businesses have limited knowledge about the specific constraints they face. This project aims to enhance the ability of women in Latin America and the Caribbean to build their businesses. This will improve their own lives, those of their employees, and the community at large. WEConnect will collect data on women-owned businesses, which is traditionally difficult and expensive to secure. This will help women entrepreneurs connect to markets and tools that can help grow their businesses, including the multinational companies that have committed themselves to support women's economic empowerment. It will also allow growth-oriented businesses to become certified and provide them with information and feedback regarding the national and global resources available to support their growth. The project will generate new knowledge about women's economic empowerment and women's business growth in Latin America and the Caribbean. The new data can be used by researchers, policy makers, and others facilitating evidence-based policy dialogues.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
12 months
IDRC Officer
Arjan De Haan
Total Funding
CA$ 290,300.00
South America
Employment and Growth
Employment and Growth
Institution Country
United States
Project Leader
Elizabeth Vazquez
WEConnect International, Inc.