KATHMANDU, March 13: The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) have invited applications for Women MSME FinTech Innovation Fund.
The goal of the Women MSME FinTech Innovation Fund is to increase access to finance through digital solutions for women-owned, managed or led MSMEs (micro small and medium enterprises) in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Fiji, Myanmar, Nepal, Samoa and Vietnam, according to a statement availed by UN Country Office in Nepal. Interested parties have been requested to apply by April 30.
Following a competitive selection process the winners will be offered grant funding, expert mentorship support, and connection with a network of investors.
More than 45% of MSMEs in Asia and the Pacific experience access to finance as a constraint. Since more than 90% of companies in developing Asia and the Pacific are MSMEs, this limits regional economic growth as MSMEs are a vital source of income and employment and contribute significantly to GDP.
“In Nepal, more than 183,000 MSMEs are registered however, women own and operate only 14,300 MSMEs, employing an estimated 200,000 workers, which equates to less than 1.2 percent female ownership/participation,” according to the statement issued by UNCDF.
“The United Nations has placed a high priority on gender equality and digital finance as means to achieve the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. ESCAP is delighted to be partnering with UNCDF on this initiative, to support innovation at the intersection of these two important agendas”, the statement has quoted Director, Trade, Investment and Innovation Division, ESCAP Mia Mikic as saying.