Investing in Women Launches Partnership with FSSI to Move Asian Capital with Gender Lens for Women SMEs

Investing in women makes smart economics and – in the COVID-19 scenario – will be essential for economic turnaround during the post-pandemic recovery.

Yet, many women remain marginalized. Businesses owned and led by women account for a large untapped source of job creation and economic growth in developing countries, including the Philippines. Women-owned or led social enterprises (WSEs) encounter significantly more barriers to growth than their male counterparts, including less access to capital to expand their enterprises.

To address the financing gap, Investing in Women (IW), an initiative of the Australian Government, has partnered with the Foundation for a Sustainable Society, Inc. (FSSI). Programmatically active for 10 years, the project involves an investment capital from IW and FSSI of at least Php 80 Million (AUD 2.5 Million) to support the business growth of WSEs.

Supporting Women Owned/Led Social Enterprises 

The IW-FSSI Project will support the development and scaling up of 12 WSEs. These enterprises are those with clear and viable business expansion plans, and a commitment to consistently improve their triple bottom line targets of People, Planet, and Profit and drivers of growth for their respective social enterprises. The project will provide the following support:

Investment Capital

· Investment capital of between Php7M to Php16M per WSE through either debt financing, equity or mezzanine financing, joint venture or any combination of these

· Promotion of gender lens investing (GLI) through tapping additional investors

Technical Assistance

· Reviewing and/or drawing up business strategic plans

· Making available updated trends and information about the industry, market, technology, finance, and sales

· Providing training and mentoring (on financial management, marketing and sales, quality control, HR development, change management, and business continuity planning)

Other Support

· Support for the adoption of appropriate industry/business innovations

· Appropriate environmental management plans

· Gender planning

Established in 1995 through a debt for development swap between the governments of the Philippines and Switzerland, FSSI seeks to apply innovative financing and capacity building support that will maximize both social and financial returns through valuable entrepreneurship, at the same time ensuring equitable development and environmental sustainability in all its initiatives. Since 1995, it has supported over 200 sustainable development projects in marginalized communities. 

“We are grateful for our partnership with IW and we look forward to working with women-owned and women-led social enterprises (WSEs), especially at this challenging time when the pandemic is affecting many WSEs,” said FSSI Executive Director Sixto Donato C. Macasaet.

The IW-FSSI project will tap the expertise and networks of FSSI’s consortium partners, the National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO) and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), in delivering the needed capacity building and mentoring requirements. 

The following are the criteria for women social enterprises to become partners of FSSI’s Investing in Women (IW) Project:

For more information or inquiries about the IW Project, contact:

Irene Fernandez

Partnership Manager, FSSI

Erness Guinto

IW Project Officer, FSSI

Visit Investing in Women for more details.

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