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Oxfam’s Women in Small Enterprise (WISE) initiative helps women entrepreneurs overcome the hurdles that can make it difficult-to-impossible for them to build successful small businesses.
Countless women around the world are building successful small businesses. But the odds against women entrepreneurs in many developing countries can be staggering. Often, they face limited access to credit and property, household obligations that consume their waking hours, and cultural standards that discriminate against them. WISE starts with a systemic understanding of these barriers and attracts partners with expertise in the areas of financial services, women’s rights, advocacy, community development, and vocational training to support women in overcoming these challenges. WISE follows Oxfam’s credo that we can change the world.
Through the WISE initiative, Oxfam will serve in our traditional role of supporting collaborations between private sector, nonprofit, and government leaders to work in partnership for the advancement of positive social change—in this case, around women’s economic rights in Guatemala. WISE is designed for women emerging successfully from microfinance lending programs with potential for further growth. These women often are not able to access growth capital as they fall into the “missing middle financing gap”—a gap in many emerging market banking systems. They need loans larger than those offered by microfinance institutions and smaller than what would be considered by mainstream banking institutions. And sometimes these are not available.
Core components of the initiative include the newly created WISE Fund, which will support increased loans to women entrepreneurs in partnership with local banking institutions, combined with training programs for women designed to increase their economic leadership.
- Women in Small Enterprise Semi-Annual Report: January - June 2016
- Women in Small Enterprise Semi-Annual Report: July - December 2015
- Women in Small Enterprise Semi-Annual Report: January-June 2015
- Women in Small Enterprise Quarterly Report: October-December 2014
- Women in Small Enterprise Quarterly Report: July-September 2014
- Women in Small Enterprise Quarterly Report: March-June 2014
Research and Policy Briefs:
- Not Strictly Business: Improving Women's Entrepreneurship Through Soft-Skills Training and Engagement of Men
- The Problem of Underinvestment in Women-Led Small and Growing Businesses in Latin America and the Caribbean: 'The Most Missing of the Missing Middle (M4)'
- Women's economic empowerment and domestic violence
- A reduction in gender inequality would help tackle income inequality
- The gender equality gap: A problem too big to tackle?
- What does success look like? For this single mother in Guatemala, it’s all about perseverance