The International Finance Corporation Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (IFC We-Fi) program, a part of the World Bank Group We-Fi program: Creating Markets and Finance for All, works with private sector actors to enable women entrepreneurs to start and grow firms. In August 2020, IFC We-Fi was granted a third round of funding of $8.7 million for its “Enhancing Seed Capital, Technology, and Value Chain Solutions for WSMEs” program. This is in addition to $49.4 million from the first round of financing in April 2018.
IFC uses We-Fi funds to provide investment and advisory support, in line with Blended Finance principles. The IFC We-Fi program works primarily with the private sector and the World Bank We-Fi program works mainly with the public sector. IFC uses We-Fi funds to provide investment and advisory support, in line with Blended Finance principles. These efforts are enriched by global research and partnerships. As of March 2022, IFC has committed 64 Investment and Advisory Services projects in 37 countries, of which 22 are in IDA/FCS countries.
The IFC We-Fi program uses a disciplined blended finance approach to catalyze We-Fi donor funds into high-impact investments that benefit women entrepreneurs. The use of blended finance allows the program to fill financing gaps by addressing market barriers and attracting private sector investments to areas of strategic importance with high development impact. As pioneering projects, when successful, blended finance investments pave the way for other investors and help create markets.
IFC and World Bank are working through the WBG We-Fi program to test innovations and scale successful models around three thematic pillars:
I. STRENGTHENING ENTERPRENEURAL ECOSYSTEMS
Fostering an inclusive legal, regulatory, and policy framework for WSMEs; supporting women entrepreneurs at every stage of growth through training, mentoring, and peer networks; championing gender-lens investing through funds, incubators, and accelerators; and providing direct investments in high-potential women entrepreneurs
II. EXPANDING FINANCIAL SERVICES
Supporting banks, fintechs, and insurance companies with blended finance investments to reach more WSMEs; providing advisory services to design and deploy products and services for women entrepreneurs
III. IMPROVING MARKET ACCESS
Integrating women-owned small and medium enterprises into domestic and international value chains and producer networks; increasing procurement opportunities for WSMEs
The We-Fi contribution of $75 million with co-investments from IFC , the private sector, government and bilateral donor investment for women entrepreneurs will leverage:
- 35000 WSMEs
- $870 MILLIONin new financing to WSMEs