Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Women’s Leadership in Small & Medium Enterprises (WLSME)

Three female farm workers, Kusum, Suresh and Simla

USAID's Women's Leadership in Small & Medium Enterprises (WLSME) initiative expanded the frontiers of this field to generate new learning about which interventions for women's entrepreneurship in SMEs work best in different developing country contexts. The resources on this site cover the external constraints, human capital constraints, information and network constraints, and risk challenges that businesswomen face.

Disparities in initial resource endowments of men- and women-led firms, sector sorting into low productivity activities, social norms, and institutional arrangements, constrain the growth of women-led enterprises.
This project conducts critical research and learning activities to disseminate and share with the development community to examine how women leaders of small businesses can better engage in the cashew value chain.
A new report by Babson College on the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative has found that training and education for women entrepreneurs positively affect emerging economies by increasing revenues and creating jobs.
Across a wide spectrum of society, there is growing recognition of the central role that women play in the world economy.
There are numerous projects and programs focusing on female entrepreneurship worldwide, yet there were no measures available to compare countries according to the same metrics. The Gender-Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index (GEDI) was created to fill this gap.
Equity-based crowdfunding emerges as a promising opportunity to empower female entrepreneurship and to emancipate investment.
Women’s World Banking (WWB) finally closed its first private equity fund to invest in microfinance enterprises that support women.
The SME Survey 2014, an annual study of factors behind the success of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in South Africa, has found that a small business owned by a woman has a better chance of being profitable than one run by a man.
About 63 percent of women in the non-agricultural labor force are self-employed in the informal sector in Africa, more than twice the worldwide rate, according to World Bank data.
According to an Asia Foundation study of the business environment in Bangladesh, male- operated small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) far outnumber those led by women SME entrepreneurs, and only 69 of the 3,800 firms in the sample have at least one female owner.
USAID press release: Entrepreneurship plays a significant role in driving economic growth and job creation.
The Gender-GEDI Index provides key insights designed to help countries advance female entrepreneurship and ultimately bolster the global economy.
Development finance institutions – such as the International Finance Corporation and Britain's CDC – play a significant role in early stage SME financing while laying the foundation for other forms of investment.
Women entrepreneurs in Africa have historically had more limited business networks than men. With advances in technology reaching around the world, there is a growing opportunity to use technology to break this divide.
Research suggesting that certain entrepreneurial mindsets and skills can be learned has given rise to the field of entrepreneurship education and training (EET).
On March 5-10, 2014, USAID’s Women’s Leadership in Small and Medium Enterprises (WLSME) program is sponsoring the 8th National Garment Trade Fair “Fashion Industry 2014: Manufactures and Equipment” hosted by the Association of Light Industry Enterprises.
Investing in women and girls is one of the highest return opportunities available in the developing world, as a wide range of economic research shows.
This article was cross-posted from www.marcopolis.net . Interview with Meaza Ashenafi, Chairperson of Enat Bank. 1. What is your overview of the banking sector and what is your outlook for 2014 and onward? In Ethiopia, private banks started to flourish since 1994. Before 1994, there were no private...
Grupo de Análisis para el Desarrollo (GRADE) and Sector3 Social Venture Group have partnered in Peru to implement the Women Entrepreneurs Leading Development project (WELD).
The Pakistan Firms Project is helping increase the profitability and incomes of small and medium­sized enterprises in vulnerable areas.
With a gender lens, investors evaluate their portfolios for the many ways that their investment choices are helping -- or not -- to right historical inequities and fuel positive change.
WEAmericas connects women to economic growth and business opportunities and brings together the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to achieve mutually beneficial goals.
More than 126 million women entrepreneurs were starting or running new businesses in 67 economies in 2012, according to the GEM 2012 Women's Report, the most comprehensive research ever conducted about the entrepreneurial activity of women across the globe.
Zan va Zamin (Women and Earth) is a grassroots organization that works to attain land tenure security and property rights for landless farmers, introduce diversified farming methods, and promote the conservation of eco-agriculture landscapes.
New index from the Economist Intelligence Unit, commissioned by the Multilateral Investment Fund, scores 20 countries on their support for female owners of micro, small and medium enterprises.
ACDI/VOCA, with its partner organization Bai Tushum Fund (BT Fund), will work to reduce barriers to human capital, social capital and business information that limit the growth of women-owned SMEs in the Kyrgyz Republic.
From June 24 to July 5, 2013, Dr. Alan Osman, an international volunteer from ACDI/VOCA specializing in business development for small and medium enterprises, assisted the Souztextile association in developing and formulating its strategic plan to expand its membership.
As part of USAID's Competitividad Municipal project in El Salvador, about 300 women have been trained to develop their leadership in business and entrepreneurship.
El Programa Mujeres Empresarias Liderando el Desarrollo (MELD), promovido y financiado por USAID (Agencia de los Estados Unidos para el Desarrollo Internacional), tiene como objetivo fortalecer las capacidades de gestión y liderazgo de mujeres empresarias de la pequeña empresa.
Citizen Journalism is changing the world by empowering local communities to tell their stories from their own perspectives. WLSME Kyrgyzstan staff members are keeping up with the latest trends in development by holding a multimedia training on 26-29 June 2013 on state-of-the-art mobile journalism...
Citizen Journalism is changing the world by empowering local communities to tell their stories from their own perspectives. WLSME Kyrgyzstan staff members are keeping up with the latest trends in development by holding a multimedia training on 26-29 June 2013 on state-of-the-art mobile journalism...
The Women's Leadership in SMEs site captures new learning in gender and enterprise development, disseminates information, and connects actors to improve development outcomes around the world.
Hello everyone, I would like to thank you all again for your participation in this Online Forum. We have had some rich discussion over the past three days and will be sending out some post-event resources to you all within a week's time. During the second part of the Forum, we moved from talking...
This month, the WLSME Kyrgyzstan program released a Rapid Market Assessment report to scan industry competitiveness and opportunities for women-owned small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Kyrgyzstan.
The International Development division of Land O’Lakes, Inc. – a full-fledged development organization that currently works in 22 countries across Asia and Africa – has observed numerous barriers to women’s cooperative leadership.
Mentoring brings experienced women business owners together with new entrepreneurs to provide a deeper understanding of the business world.
The latest research from the International Business Report (IBR) explores the global shift in the number of women at the top of the business world and examines ways to make this growth permanent and parity possible.
African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) is an outreach, education, and engagement initiative that targets African women entrepreneurs to promote business growth, increase trade both regionally and to U.S. markets through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
The Rizal Commercial and Banking Co. (RCBC), one of the largest commercial banks in the Philippines, has introduced an SME business loan program which gives women the opportunity to increase their financial capacity and meet the growing demands of their business.
The primary goal of this article is to offer what the authors believe is the first comprehensive assessment of the global MSME credit gap, including key insights regarding the somewhat bifurcated nature of the challenge that the MSME credit gap represents.
Relative to men, women are pursuing lower opportunity activities, with their enterprises more likely to be smaller, informal, and in low value-added lines of business.