Australian Embassy launches fund for women-led SMEs – CNN

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 18) – The Australian Embassy in the Philippines launched a fund to help women-led small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven Robinson emphasized these female-led SMEs will help flourish the national economy and give other women opportunities to engage in doing business.

“During a crisis, women and girls get impacted disproportionately harder than men,” Robinson told CNN Philippines’ Rico Hizon on Wednesday. “As a consequence, we are thinking of ways in which we can stimulate women to get back into workforce and get back into business that will help the economy at the same time.”

Robinson added the Women RISE Fund allows a two-year period for partner organizations to invest in women-led businesses and attract more female workers in the country’s labor force.

The Australian ambassador also said many women workers and entrepreneurs can benefit in their program, especially with the country recovering from successive calamities.

InBestCap Ventures Board Member Benilda Ronquillo-Camba, whose venture capital company is one of Australian embassy’s local partners, stressed that they are keen on investing in SMEs which both promote social impact and inclusivity.

“We want those who have impact in social, environmental, and business outcomes,” Camba said, “and for being inclusive, those who are creating equal opportunities for small entrepreneurs as well.”

She added that they are eyeing 500 female workers/entrepreneurs who will benefit from their partnership with the Australian Embassy.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority data released in 2018, the female participation rate of Filipino women in the workforce stands at 46% or around 33 million out of the 73 million total national labor force.

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