The Asia Foundation Expands Support for Women Entrepreneurs in Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar, December 3, 2021 — The Asia Foundation Mongolia established the first satellite branch of its Women’s Business Center (WBC) in Arvaikheer, Uvurkhangai aimag with support from the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada, the Australian Government, and the private philanthropy group the Lotus Circle. The WBC supports current and aspiring women entrepreneurs in Uvurkhangai through business training, mentorship, and networking opportunities.

The launch event featured opening remarks from local women entrepreneurs, Chairman of the Citizen`s Representative Khural of Uvurkhangai Purevdorj O., country representative for The Asia Foundation in Mongolia Mark Koenig, Deputy Governor of Uvurkhangai Undrakh S., and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Canada to Mongolia, H.E. Catherine Ivkoff. Remarks were presented to over 40 guests representing Uvurkhangai administration, public and private sector, civil society organizations, financial institutions, and women entrepreneurs of Uvurkhangai.

Several people in masks pose in fron of banner highlighting The Asia Foundation and Government of Canada

The Asia Foundation Mongolia staff meet to discuss a new WBC in Uvurkhangai

The WBC in Uvurkhangai will be the first branch located outside of Mongolia’s densely populated capital, Ulaanbaatar. The Asia Foundation first visited Uvurkhangai in November 2020, when its four-year Women’s Economic Empowerment Project, funded by Global Affairs Canada launched. Since then, the Foundation signed a memorandum of understanding with the Uvurkhangai province local government to strengthen cooperative efforts to support women entrepreneurs in the region. Additionally, the Foundation and Australian Government launched another project to support women entrepreneurs during the Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath. Leveraging support from these projects and the Lotus Circle, the new WBC in Uvurkhangai has been equipped with new computer equipment, furniture, and trainers to provide support to a thriving ecosystem of women entrepreneurs in the rural aimag.

Multiple people hold a red ribbon for the ceremonial cutting

Ribbon cutting for new WBC

There are over 20,000 women active in Uvurkhangai’s economy, of which 12,000 are women entrepreneurs operating an informal business. Among the inactive labor force population, 56 percent are women unable to find employment opportunities. Since 2016, the WBC in Ulaanbaatar has supported over 8,000 women in their entrepreneurial pursuits. The Asia Foundation is confident that the WBC in Uvurkhangai will provide critical support to women and serve as a model for other rural areas in Mongolia to support women’s economic empowerment.

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 is focused on good governance, women’s empowerment and gender equality, inclusive economic growth, environment and climate action, and regional and international relations.

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Eelynn Sim, Director, Media & Strategy
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