Skip NavigationMenu

Asia Foundation and Asian Development Bank Launch Publication on Women’s Entrepreneurship in Asia and the Pacific

Washington, D.C., October 18, 2018 — Today, The Asia Foundation and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) released a new publication, Emerging Lessons on Women’s Entrepreneurship in Asia and the Pacific: Case Studies from the Asian Development Bank and The Asia Foundation. The joint undertaking explores the most pressing challenges women entrepreneurs face in the region and includes compelling case studies and key recommendations for contributing to an enabling environment for women entrepreneurs. The report is a guide for governments, development partners, nongovernment organizations (NGOs), and the private sector for supporting women entrepreneurs through gender-responsive, evidence-based investments and strategies.

Women’s entrepreneurship is increasingly understood to be a key driver of economic growth and job creation: an estimated $4.5 trillion could be added to Asia and the Pacific’s GDP by 2025 by closing gender disparities in economic opportunities. Widely recognized as a key component of women’s economic empowerment, entrepreneurship has the potential to contribute significantly to advancing women’s rights, opportunities, and influence.

As two organizations with a history of supporting women entrepreneurs in Asia, The Asia Foundation and the Asian Development Bank have published this report to leverage both organizations’ complementary areas of expertise to make evidence-based policy and program recommendations for strengthening support for women entrepreneurs. The new report is comprised of three parts. The first focuses on the key barriers that women in Asia and the Pacific face when trying to establish or grow a business; the second presents case studies of projects supported by the ADB and The Asia Foundation in various countries throughout the region; and the third proposes eight areas for further research on women’s entrepreneurship.

The four Asia Foundation case studies in the report illustrate promising strategies for fostering women’s entrepreneurship through targeted investments in local groups and institutions. A program in China offers an example of how existing technology can be leveraged to create new networks of women entrepreneurs and provide in-demand training for online business ventures. Mongolia’s only business incubator for women demonstrates the potential for sustained, multifaceted ways to help aspiring women entrepreneurs become successful businesswomen. A project in Vietnam is demystifying digital financial services and helping women entrepreneurs in rural areas use mobile banking to start and grow their businesses. Finally, a case study from Bangladesh shows that an essential component of project design is the collection of local-level data to provide a nuanced understanding of the social context in which women entrepreneurs operate.

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, our work across the region addresses five overarching goals—strengthen governance, empower women, expand economic opportunity, increase environmental resilience, and promote regional cooperation.

Read more about the Foundation’s work and our Women’s Empowerment program

For media inquiries, please visit our News Room. Engage with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Read our latest news, or insights from our blog.

Media contacts

Amy Ovalle, Vice President, Global Communications
[email protected]

Eelynn Sim, Director, Media & Strategy
[email protected]

The Latest Across Asia


December 7, 2022

Support Women Forest Defenders

Join us this holiday season to help untapped leaders like Sumini and the Women Forest Defenders battle rampant deforestation in Indonesia.