Our recipe for success
Ignite focused on three strategies to empower these entrepreneurs, and to get them the support and funding they needed:
Creating financial products and services through women-centered design processes that improved access and usage for women, while driving good business for financial service providers.
Investing in strategic and diverse partnerships to enable greater reach, deliver a wider range of services, and promote long-term sustainability of services for women entrepreneurs.
Employing strategic and targeted outreach campaigns to influence the small business ecosystem; drive awareness and uptake of adapted products; and address restrictive norms and behaviors that uniquely impact women.
Unlocking women’s economic power isn’t rocket science.
All it requires is that we commit to and intentionally invest in prioritizing and designing products and services that women want and need with the recognition that in doing so we’re capitalizing on an enormous triple-bottom-line opportunity.
For example, “Emprendiendo Mujer,” a loan product we co-designed with Financiera Confianza in Peru doesn’t require a woman’s credit history or consider her husband’s debt (unlike other products there), and even includes breast cancer screening.
It’s been so successful, it’s being copied by competitors.
Similarly, in Pakistan, where digital and financial literacy are low, we combined social media with mobile money wallets to enable women without bank accounts or credit cards to receive payments. And in Vietnam we developed networks that helped women entrepreneurs create critical connections with customers and suppliers.
Striving and innovating
The innovative partnership with the Center for Inclusive Growth and $9 million investment in Strive Women from the Mastercard Impact Fund will enable CARE to expand its role as a market convener for women-led small businesses in Pakistan, Peru, and Vietnam. We will deepen and grow our partnerships and build dynamic ecosystems with even more stakeholders to spark new ideas, design useful and affordable women-centered products, and provide insights into how to leverage and scale innovation to close the gender gap.
Strive Women also gives us an opportunity to ideate and create market-based solutions for two of the most pressing issues for women in our time: childcare and climate change. Women bear disproportionate responsibility for childcare, spending more than 2.4 hours per day on average, on unpaid care work compared to men. Strive Women will explore solutions to childcare to reduce women’s stress and time poverty.
Likewise, with women and girls experiencing the greatest impact of climate change, Strive Women will increase financing and assistance for green businesses and practices as we experiment with adaptations to the crisis and activate sustainable support for these businesses.
Hand-in-hand with women and like-minded partners, we are growing resilient, inclusive ecosystems and economies where women can unlock their full economic power, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because failure to do so will mean we have lost a real multi-trillion-dollar opportunity.
If you are committed to the financial health and inclusion of women entrepreneurs, join us to build a more equitable ecosystem.
Find out more about CARE’s Strive Women Program supported by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth.