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Strive Women: Her Business, Her Financial Future

Three women, two of whom are wearing vests, stand together with their arms crossed in a store aisle.

Strive Women supports women entrepreneurs to feel confident, resilient, in control, and equipped to grow their businesses, so they gain economic power in their households, communities, and economies.

Overview

Strive Women, a four-year program led by CARE and supported by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, strengthens the financial health of women-led small businesses in Pakistan, Peru, and Vietnam. Women-led small businesses are critical contributors to economies, communities, and households worldwide.

Working with local partners, Strive Women takes a women-centered design approach to deliver tailored financial products and support services, such as digital skills building and strengthening women’s networks. The program addresses the unique gender barriers faced by women-led businesses and tests innovations related to the climate crisis and childcare, which both disproportionately impact women.

Building on a long-term commitment to women entrepreneurs, CARE is also activating an inclusive ecosystem of stakeholders. While the program will directly support over 300,000 entrepreneurs, Strive Women aims to reach over 6 million entrepreneurs in total through its campaigns.

Strive logo

The opportunity

Micro, small, and medium enterprises account for 90% of businesses, 60-70% of employment, and 50% of GDP worldwide (UN, 2023). Women-led small businesses are critical contributors to economies, communities, and households worldwide. However, women do not have equal access to finance. By not recognizing the potential of the women’s market, businesses are losing out on a huge opportunity. In the financial services sector, 80% of women-owned small businesses with credit needs are either unserved or underserved—a $1.7 trillion financing gap (UNSGSA, 2018).

Financial health

By focusing on the financial health of a woman entrepreneur, CARE and partners will support her to balance both her household and business cashflow, prepare for and manage financial shocks, and increase her decision-making power. Ultimately, Strive Women supports women running small businesses to feel confident, in control, and able to invest in what matters to both her family and her business.

Our focus

Strive Women supports micro and small enterprises, 70% of which will be women-led with at least two employees, and who have been in business for at least two years. The program runs from 2023 to 2027 in Pakistan, Peru, and Vietnam where women face multiple gender barriers and there are large segments of unserved and underserved micro and small businesses ready for investment.

Where Strive Women works

Strive Women in Pakistan

Strive Women in Pakistan supports women entrepreneurs to feel confident, resilient, in control, and equipped to grow their businesses, so they gain economic power in their households, communities, and economies. Read More

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Strive Women in Peru

Strive Women in Peru supports women entrepreneurs to feel confident, resilient, in control, and equipped to grow their businesses, so they gain economic power in their households, communities, and economies. Read More

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Strive Women in Vietnam

Strive Women in Vietnam supports women entrepreneurs to feel confident, resilient, in control, and equipped to grow their businesses, so they gain economic power in their households, communities, and economies. Read More

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Latest News

Perspectives
Want to boost the global economy by $10 trillion? Invest in women.

CARE and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth show how boosting in the economic power of women like Fariha is a smart investment.

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Press Releases
Mastercard and CARE Partner to Launch Strive Women

At the APEC CEO Summit today, Mastercard’s Center for Inclusive Growth (the Center) and CARE, an international humanitarian organization, announced the launch of Mastercard Strive Women — a new program that aims to strengthen the financial health and resilience of small businesses in the APEC economies of Peru and Vietnam, as well as in Pakistan, with a focus on small businesses led by women.

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Latest Resources

Strive Women Global Overview

Strive Women, a four-year program (2023-2027) led by CARE and supported by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, strengthens the financial health of women-led small businesses in Pakistan, Peru, and Vietnam.

Read More
Ignite Final Report

Ignite set out to reach 3.9 million entrepreneurs in 3 years with $5.26 million USD in grant funding from Mastercard.

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Projects

Ignite Program

In partnership with Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, CARE’s Ignite Program unleashed the power of growth-oriented entrepreneurs.

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Strive Czechia

Strive Czechia unleashes the power of Micro and Small Enterprises in the Czech Republic to succeed in the digital economy.

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Mastercard Strive

Strive Women is part of Mastercard Strive, a global portfolio of philanthropic programs aimed at helping small businesses around the world thrive in the digital economy. The program is implemented by CARE, supported by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, and funded with a $9 million USD investment from the Mastercard Impact Fund.