Women Entrepreneurs


Opportunities for the Development of Women-Led Businesses and Clusters via Collective Marks and Certifications Marks

December 7, 2023


In Mongolia, micro and small businesses, often led by women entrepreneurs, face various challenges, including a weak supply chain, transportation issues, lack of networks, and barriers to accessing finance, among others. Among the pressing issues are: Investment: A lack of collateral complicates access to loans, while non-bank financial institution… Read more


Women’s Business Center Infographic

November 3, 2023


Our Women’s Economic Empowerment project in Mongolia addresses a critical demand from women entrepreneurs to receive business support and development services in an enabling environment that fosters women’s entrepreneurship and supports small and medium businesses as one of the project’s pathways to enhance women’s leadership in the Mongolian econo… Read more


Promoting Women’s Entrepreneurship in Korea

September 5, 2023


The Asia Foundation’s office in Korea, with support from Fondation Chanel, undertook a program to equip women entrepreneurs with the skills and training they would need to enter the market and sustain their businesses successfully. The recently concluded two-phase project administered networking sessions, individual and group coaching sessions, and… Read more


Accelerate Women’s Entrepreneurship and Access to Capital in Cambodia: Lessons and Recommendations

March 28, 2023


This document presents lessons and recommendations from Accelerate Women’s Entrepreneurship and Access to Capital in Cambodia, an initiative funded by the VISA Foundation and implemented by The Asia Foundation. By providing training courses to large numbers of entrepreneurs in Cambodia, this program aimed to provide participants with digital skills… Read more


The Asia Foundation hosts George J. Furey and Delegates at the Women’s Business Center in Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar, October 18, 2022

News Post

George J. Furey, Speaker of the Senate of Canada, and delegates visited the newly established Women’s Business Center (WBC) Post-Incubator space at the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI). The Post-Incubator space was renovated with the generous support of Global Affairs Canada as a part of The Asia Foundation’s Women’s Econ… Read more


A Pathway to Entrepreneurship for Sulu Women

August 17, 2022

Blog Post

The creation of the BARMM has brought a new era of peace to Sulu, in Mindanao, but this Philippine region still suffers from economic disadvantages that fall especially hard on women.

Group photo of women entrepreneurs standing behind their work 

Accelerate Sulu Exhibit Showcases the Craftsmanship of Women Entrepreneurs

June 8, 2022

Program Snapshot Post

On May 26-28, Women entrepreneurs from Sulu joined a three-day exhibit in Manila, Anyam-Hablun: An Exhibition of Weaving Arts of Women of Sulu, to showcase their artistic creations. The exhibit is part of Accelerate Sulu: Women’s Entrepreneurship for Peace, an initiative to improve quality of life, increase employment opportunities, and promote ove… Read more


Asia Foundation partners with AT&T and Visa to launch “Accelerate” in Malaysia and Indonesia

February 8, 2022

News Post

The Asia Foundation is collaborating with AT&T and Visa to launch the Accelerate program, an initiative that will help 6,000 women-led micro, small and medium-sized (MSMEs) enterprises in rural and remote communities gain practical skills to sustain and grow their business. In Malaysia, this initiative is fully endorsed and supported by the Min… Read more

Ribbon cutting for new WBC 

The Asia Foundation Expands Support for Women Entrepreneurs in Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar, December 3, 2021

News Post

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… Read more


Rapid Response Fund Buoys Mongolian Women Entrepreneurs Hit Hard by Covid

February 17, 2021

Blog Post

An emergency fund for women entrepreneurs is helping Mongolian small businesswomen survive the pandemic and prepare for a prosperous future.


Asia Foundation Launches Women’s Economic Empowerment Project in Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar, October 26, 2020

News Post

On September 25th, The Asia Foundation launched a four-year Women’s Economic Empowerment Project in Mongolia funded by Global Affairs Canada. The launch event was attended by a range of leaders active in Mongolia’s gender equality movement. Those gathered represented Mongolian civil society, government, the private sector, international organizatio… Read more


Funding Women Entrepreneurs on Mongolia’s Covid Front Line

July 8, 2020

Blog Post

Mongolia has been a Covid-19 success story, but the early lockdown that kept the virus at bay has also battered the economy, and no one has felt it more than Mongolia’s small businesswomen.


Asia Foundation Launches Rapid Response Fund to Address Gendered Impacts of Covid-19

San Francisco, April 8, 2020

News Post

The gendered impact of Covid-19 continues to play out in countries and communities across the globe, with acute effects on women and girls. These include a dramatic rise in gender-based violence amidst quarantines and lockdowns, women’s loss of economic security, increased caregiving demands that fall largely on women, and the increased risks to wo… Read more


The Asia Foundation Presents Public-Private Dialogue on Financial Inclusion for Rural Women SMEs in Bangladesh

November 27, 2019

News Post

This week, the Women’s Economic Empowerment through Strengthening Market Systems program, funded by the Embassy of Sweden and implemented by iDE Bangladesh and The Asia Foundation, organized a successful public-private dialogue in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Examining the challenges rural women entrepreneurs face in accessing loans, the discussion brought t… Read more


Women’s Entrepreneurship in Korea: Tapping a Potent Source of National Prosperity

November 20, 2019

Blog Post

Although it boasts the world’s twelfth-largest economy, Korea has been struggling to close an economic gender gap that the OECD calls the worst in the developed world. A new survey explores the structural obstacles keeping Korea from tapping a potent source of national prosperity: its women entrepreneurs.


Harvard Business Review Cites Women’s SME Report

October 31, 2019

Media Coverage Post

Harvard Business Review publishes analysis by Boston Consulting Group on women-led businesses and the importance of networks in the global economy. Read The Asia Foundation’s related report. Again and again we find that networks are a critical factor for small business success. In low- and middle-income countries, for example, we studied how knowin… Read more


Accelerate Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Opportunities in Korea

September 19, 2019


With generous support from Fondation CHANEL, The Asia Foundation implemented a one-year research project, Accelerate Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Opportunities in South Korea, to better understand the challenges and opportunities facing women entrepreneurs in Gyeonggi Province, including the current policy environment. The long-term goal o… Read more


Accelerating Women’s Entrepreneurship in South Korea

September 19, 2019


Women’s entrepreneurship represents a potent untapped resource for economic growth in Korea, which is struggling to reinvigorate its flagging economy. The Asia Foundation and Gyeonggido Family & Women’s Research Institute’s targeted research illuminates the key factors affecting the launch and growth of women-owned businesses in Gyeonggi Provin… Read more


Women in ICT: Entering a Forbidden Space

May 8, 2019

Blog Post

Tovkhon Monastery, Mongolia. Photo: Torbenbrinker / Wikimedia Creative Commons Traveling last year in Mongolia’s Arkhangai Province, I joined a party climbing the Shireet Ulaan Uul, a rocky, forested mountain that rises to 2,600 meters from the ridges west of the Orkhon River. At the top of this peak, in 1684, the revered monk and polymath Zanabaza… Read more


Big Hope, a Factory, and the Survival of Women in Bangladesh

April 10, 2019

Blog Post

In 1998, with her husband too sick to work and two children to support, Ashiron Nesa took an unusual step for a woman in rural Bangladesh: she started her own business. With no help from a bank, and just 40 Bangladeshi taka (BDT)—50 U.S. cents—in savings, she launched her company, Onek Asha (Big Hope), for the survival of her family. Twenty years l… Read more


Asia Foundation Launches “Accelerate Women’s Entrepreneurship Program” in Shanghai

Beijing, March 17, 2019

News Post

Today marks the launch of the inaugural class of The Asia Foundation’s “Accelerate Women’s Entrepreneurship: Supporting Migrant Women-Owned Businesses” program in Shanghai, China. This program is part of Moody’s Reshape Tomorrow™ initiative, an innovative global program to help owners of small and growing businesses and made possible by a gr… Read more


Women’s Business Center and Incubator Project

February 25, 2019


Women’s Business Center and Incubator Project (WBC Project) addresses a critical demand from women entrepreneurs to receive day-to-day professional and high-quality business support and development services in an enabling environment that fosters women’s entrepreneurship and supports small and medium businesses. In addition, it responds to the desi… Read more

Bangladesh women entrepreneur 

No Silver Bullet for Women Entrepreneurs

November 7, 2018

Blog Post

Women’s entrepreneurship is a top regional concern in Asia, where women own more than half of the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in some countries. Even where women are starting businesses at relatively high rates, however, their profits and growth are constrained relative to their male counterparts. In Cambodia, for example, less than 1… Read more


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

Washington, D.C., October 18, 2018

News Post

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 compel… Read more


Emerging Lessons on Women’s Entrepreneurship in Asia and the Pacific

October 18, 2018


Case Studies from the Asian Development Bank and The Asia Foundation As two organizations with a history of supporting women entrepreneurs in Asia, The Asia Foundation and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have published this report to leverage both organizations’ complementary areas of expertise to make evidence-based policy and program recommendat… Read more


Emerging Lessons on Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Asia-Pacific

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Events Post

9:30 am – 11:00 am Choate Room, 1st Floor, 1779 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036 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 the gender disparities in economic opportunities. Widely rec… Read more


Undrakh’s Journey

July 9, 2018


The Women’s Business Center Incubator Project (WBC Project) addresses a critical demand from women entrepreneurs to receive day-to-day professional and high-quality business support and development. The Center provides services in an enabling environment that fosters women’s entrepreneurship and supports small and medium businesses.services cover a… Read more


Building an Entrepreneurship Ecosystem for Women in Mongolia

May 23, 2018

Blog Post

For many Mongolians, the booming capital, Ulaanbaatar, is synonymous with economic opportunity and a new life. Half the population now lives in the capital, most of them in the so-called ger areas, unplanned districts often lacking essential infrastructure like water and electricity and isolated from commercial activity. Starting a business here an… Read more


Asia Foundation and Fondation CHANEL Launch Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative in Gyeonggi, Korea

Seoul, March 14, 2018

News Post

The Asia Foundation is pleased to announce it has received support from Paris-based Fondation CHANEL under a brand-new AccelerateGrowth Initiative aimed at enhancing opportunities for women’s entrepreneurship in South Korea. Under this new collaboration, The Asia Foundation is launching a one-year research project with Gyeonggi Family & Women’s… Read more


To Make China’s Female Entrepreneurs Count, Let’s Go Beyond Just Counting Them

December 13, 2017

Blog Post

In November, the eighth annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit was held in Hyderabad, India, focusing on the theme of “Women First, Prosperity For All.” For the first time in the history of this summit that brings together entrepreneurs and high-level politicians from around the world, women make up a majority of the 1500 entrepreneurs selected to a… Read more

Bangladesh women entrepreneur 

Financial Inclusion for Women Entrepreneurs

November 1, 2017

Blog Post

Over the last two decades, significant progress has been made in improving access to finance for women, especially women entrepreneurs. Yet despite the fact that over 30 percent of all small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in emerging markets globally are women owned and operated, they continue to have lower than average growth rates compared t… Read more


Q&A with Goldman Sachs Technology Investor on Inequality in the Workforce

August 23, 2017

Blog Post

On September 6-8, over 300 women funders and leaders from across the globe will convene in San Francisco for the 2017 Women Funded Conference, which will feature interactive workshops and sessions to mobilize a community around promoting equality and eradicating discrimination. Ahead of the event, In Asia editor Alma Freeman sat down with Lucy Lee,… Read more


Бизнес Эрхлэгч Эмэгтэйчүүдийн Төв

March 21, 2017


2016 оны 7-р сард байгуулагдсан Бизнес эрхлэгч эмэгтэйчүүдийн төв нь бизнесээ эхлүүлэх эсвэл хөгжүүлэх хүсэлтэй Улаанбаатар хотын эмэгтэйчүүдэд зориулсан бизнесийн сургалтууд, ганцаарчилсан зөвлөх үйлчилгээ, хамтын оффис болон бизнест холбож өгөх үйлчилгээ үзүүлдэг.


Women’s Business Center Mongolia – Infographic

March 21, 2017


Established in July 2016, Ulaanbaatar’s first women-focused business service center is committed to helping entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses through educational workshops, one-on-one assistance, co-working and business facilities, and connection with local resources.


Mongolia: Women’s Business Center

November 7, 2016


The Asia Foundation opened Ulaanbaatar’s first Women’s Business Center (WBC) in July of 2016. The WBC welcomes new and existing female business owners to avail of the center’s business, marketing, and select financial support services. This center is being established under a three-year pilot Women’s Business Center and Incubator Project, funded by… Read more


Building an Economic Foundation for Girls in Southern Thailand

October 5, 2016

Blog Post

The High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment, created by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in January 2016, convened alongside the United Nations General Assembly in New York last month where it released its first-ever report. The panel was created to place women’s economic empowerment at the top of the global agenda and the 2030 Agenda for… Read more

Women's Business Center in Mongolia 

New Business Center Supports Women Entrepreneurs in Mongolia

September 21, 2016

Blog Post

At first glance, Mongolia appears to be a shining star globally in the realm of women’s empowerment, and in many ways, it is. For example, according to the UN’s Gender Development Index (GDI), women in Mongolia have a longer life expectancy than men (70.2 compared to 63.1), and outnumber men in school attendance across all ages. Women can be seen i… Read more


Bangladesh’s Women Entrepreneurs Push Forward

November 18, 2015

Blog Post

Bangladeshi girls start their lives at a disadvantage that for most only increases as they grow up. Though more than half of the population is female, women and girls are still viewed as second-class citizens whose identities are based on who their father or brother or husband is.


Women’s Labor Rights: The Road Ahead

April 29, 2015

Blog Post

May 1 is International Workers Day. Its origins lie in a peaceful demonstration in 1886 in Chicago’s Haymarket Square that turned violent as frustrated workers petitioned for an eight-hour workday. Since then, workers’ rights around the world have seen significant legal gains, including the right to collective bargaining…


Leveling the Playing Field for China’s Migrant Women Entrepreneurs

December 3, 2014

Blog Post

On this year’s Singles’ Day Sale in China – one of the largest online shopping days in the world – the Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba reported sales of more than $9 billion within 24 hours. Just weeks earlier, Alibaba had the largest IPO in U.S. history…


Making ASEAN Regional Connectivity Work for Women-Run Businesses

October 1, 2014

Blog Post

By the end of 2015, the long-anticipated ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is set to come into effect, covering 16 countries, 600 million people, with a combined GDP worth of $2.3 trillion. While the AEC is intended to bring about broad-based economic benefits by creating a more competitive economic region…


Online Work: The Game-Changer for Asia’s Entrepreneurs

July 9, 2014

Blog Post

An exciting tech trend is reshaping Asian workforces. In countries like Bangladesh where the economy is expanding alongside faster broadband speeds and mobile penetration, entrepreneurs and skilled workers looking for employment are turning to online work…


ICT Innovations Connect Bangladesh’s Women Entrepreneurs

May 14, 2014

Blog Post

By 2020, Bangladesh will have a population of 170 million – and half of this population will be made up of women. If the country is to achieve the 8 percent GDP growth it hopes for, making sure that women entrepreneurs are able to reach their full potential and fully contribute…


Advancing Women Business Leadership in Mongolia

May 14, 2014

Blog Post

While Mongolia has made important strides in achieving gender equality, it still has a long way to go when it comes to parity between women and men in business. Currently, it ranks 33rd out of 136 countries according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index (2013)…


The Women Leaders Who Drive Aquino’s Reform Agenda

March 5, 2014

Blog Post

For a president who was so greatly influenced by his mother and surrounded by sisters, it’s perhaps not that surprising that Simeon Benigno Aquino III has appointed women to some of the highest positions of his administration. A confirmed bachelor…


Inclusive Growth in Asia is Impossible Without Including Women

March 5, 2014

Blog Post

A report from Oxfam released in late January put down on paper what many already feared was true: almost almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one percent of the population. This is also the case in Asia, where income and wealth disparity is growing rapidly.


Photo Blog: Critical Issue – Women’s Participation

March 5, 2014

Blog Post

While Asian women are increasingly visible in leadership positions, political participation rates of men and women continue to be vastly unequal. In many countries, women are routinely discouraged from entering public office.


Women Entrepreneurs in Bangladesh

February 15, 2013


In the Northeastern Bangladesh city of Sylhet, a group of women entrepreneurs have joined together to advocate for better access to loans for women. Through their efforts, more women are now finding the means to grow their own business and boost employment in their region. The Asia Foundation, in partnership with BICF, has provided technical assist… Read more