Successful applications will receive up to $1.3 million in grant funding, technical assistance and support in obtaining regulatory approvals where necessary.
The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) says that the grant capital can be used for operational development and expansion costs, legal fees, building investor networks, market research, identifying investable women enterprises, portfolio management, capacity building and monitoring of impact.
"Leveraging private capital through impact investment can play a critical role in supporting the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. ESCAP is excited to announce this Request for Applications and looks forward to working with Impact Investment Funds to unlock the capital urgently required to meet the funding gap faced by women entrepreneurs in the Asia-Pacific region," ESCAP official Hongjoo Hahm said.
Applicants are asked to take a "gender lens" investing approach, with the specific intent to create a positive impact on women enterprises. This can be in the form of investing in enterprises which are majority owned by women (51%), managed by a woman, a majority of the board members are women, and/or investing in enterprises which support, empower and develop the capacities of women.
Key criteria for applicants include:
• Applicants can be based anywhere globally, however the Women Enterprise Impact Fund must invest in women enterprises in one or several of the following countries: Cambodia, Viet Nam, Bangladesh, Nepal, Fiji and/or Samoa;
• Applications are open to all organisations which hold a not-for-profit status, government and multilateral entities, who have the skills and expertise in developing similar initiatives;
• It is expected that the applicant would be able to mobilize the investment capital necessary to provide investment to women enterprises.
This initiative is part of ESCAP's ‘Catalysing women's entrepreneurship: creating a gender-responsive entrepreneurial ecosystem' project. The project aims to create an enabling policy and business environment that enhances women entrepreneurs' access to capital through innovative financing mechanisms as well as increase their use of ICT and digital solutions. The project is undertaken with the financial support of the government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada.