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Gender at IFC

Gender at IFC > Entrepreneurship 

Women and Microenterprise


Lower-income women are the primary consumers and beneficiaries of microfinance around the world. So when IFC works to expand microfinance markets, we are supporting a more inclusive financial sector that can help poor women and men in their daily lives. 


IFC is one of the world's largest investors in microfinance, holding a $2 billion portfolio through microfinance institutions (MFIs). We support promising nonprofits to become regulated financial institutions, and then provide early equity investment to support future growth.


Scale Remains a Challenge


Microfinance has helped millions of people start and manage microenterprises to generate income for their families. People also use microloans, microinsurance, and other microfinance products to smooth consumption, make major purchases, and cope with sudden shocks that could otherwise devastate a poor family.


But scale remains a major challenge. Less than 20 percent of the world's potential 3 billion microfinance clients are currently served, in part because a majority of MFIs lack the commercial viability that is required for sustained growth.


Microenterprise and Women's Economic Empowerment


IFC aims to expand financial services to more than 58 million microfinance clients through financial intermediaries. At least half of these clients will be women—economically empowered women who will also help advance social and economic well-being in their communities.

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