Fostering Women's Entrepreneurship in ASEAN: Transforming Prospects, Transforming Societies

Working paper13 Nov 2017

Entrepreneurship is a key means through which women can both empower themselves and contribute to inclusive and sustainable development. A vital part of this agenda includes the 61.3 million women who own and operate businesses within the ten member States of ASEAN.

It is the particular challenges and opportunities that the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) will bring to women entrepreneurs which provide the impetus and focus for this report. The measures set out in the AEC Blueprint 2025 are expected to affect the prospects for SME growth in various ways. These range from the benefits of improvements in market access and physical and ICT infrastructure on the one hand, to the challenges of increased competition, on the other. Although many SMEs, female and male-owned, will face challenges in this respect, women entrepreneurs will have additional constraints to contend with, undermining their potential to contribute to inclusive and sustainable development under the AEC.

"Fostering Women’s Entrepreneurship in ASEAN: Transforming Prospects, Transforming Societies" proposes critical actions that can be taken by ASEAN Governments to address the particular constraints facing women entrepreneurs — in association with the finance sector, entrepreneur associations, international agencies, civil society and other key actors — towards the realization of both the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the AEC Blueprint 2025.