Women's Entrepreneurship Development (WED)

The ILO’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Development programme (ILO-WED) is part of the Small and Medium Enterprises Unit (SME). ILO-WED works on enhancing economic opportunities for women by carrying out affirmative actions in support of women starting, formalizing and growing their enterprises, and by mainstreaming gender equality issues into the ILO's work in enterprise development. This approach to WED is highlighted in the ILO WED Strategy that was adopted by the Governing Body in March, 2008.

The ILO-WED approach is threefold, working with governments, employers' organizations, trade unions, and local community-based organizations to: create an enabling environment for WED that generates quality jobs; build institutional capacity in WED; and development of tools and support services for women entrepreneurs. It does so both through targeted approaches and gender mainstreaming, with a clear objective to contribute towards gender equality and women's economic empowerment.

ILO WED Strategy was built from the expertise developed under WEDGE, (Women's Entrepreneurship Development and Gender Equality). WEDGE is comprised of technical cooperation projects that are funded by donors such as Irish Aid and NORAD and enable the WED strategy to be operationalised. Building on local partnerships, WEDGE projects have developed a series of tools and approaches, based on the research and experience from pilot projects organized with local partners and country offices. WED has been working with the ILO's SKILLS department to mainstream disability into women’s entrepreneurship development, targeting women with disabilities and HIV/AIDS within WEDGE projects. The WED Strategy provides a flexible and innovative response to promote women's entrepreneurship development based on local needs and circumstances. Gender Equality is and will remain at the forefront of the WED strategy.

 

Where we work

ILO-WED works in partnership with constituents, relevant institutions, community organizations and other UN agencies. Currently, the ILO has projects across Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Special attention has been given to Developing Entrepreneurship among Women with Disabilities and mainstreaming disability into the ILO-WED work.

 

ILO-WED Tools

Key Resources

  1. Cairo Platform for Action for the Development of Women Entrepreneurship in Africa

    29 October 2009

    Findings of the Pan-African Forum on women entrepreneurship development in response to the financial crisis

  2. Promoting female entrepreneurship in Mauritius : strategies in training and development

    01 November 2003

    SEED Working Paper No. 58 - Series on women’s entrepreneurship development and gender in enterprises (WEDGE)

  3. Ethiopian women entrepreneurs: Going for growth

    30 June 2003

    This report presents the conclusions and final set of recommendations based on outcomes from field research and a national conference organized by the ILO on women entrepreneurs in Ethiopia. In an effort to pinpoint the factors that facilitate or inhibit the growth of their businesses, the book presents the field research conducted with 123 women entrepreneurs from Addis Ababa and five other major cities, as well as indepth interviews with five other women entrepreneurs. Among other findings, the report reveals the issues of land title and lack of working premises are among the major barriers experienced by women entrepreneurs in establishing and growing their enterprises in this region. A sample survey as well as a list of recommendations are also included.

  4. Tanzanian women entrepreneurs: Going for growth

    30 June 2003

    Presents the results of a questionnaire survey carried out among some 120 business women in the cities of Arusha, Dar-es-Salaam, and Zanzibar. Reports on their experiences in starting their business, role of support services, growth prospects, etc.

  5. Zambian women entrepreneurs: Going for growth

    30 June 2003

    Presents the results of a questionnaire survey carried out among some 120 business women in the cities of Lusaka and Kitwe. Gives the profile of the owners and their enterprise, how it was started, how it is managed, the forms of support services received, etc.

  6. Women entrepreneurs in Albania

    01 April 2001

    SEED Working Paper No. 21 - Series on women’s entrepreneurship development and gender in enterprises (WEDGE)

  7. Jobs, gender and small enterprises in Bulgaria

    10 March 2001

    SEED Working Paper No. 20 - Series on women’s entrepreneurship development and gender in enterprises (WEDGE)

  8. Jobs, gender and small enterprises in the Caribbean : lessons from Barbados, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago

    01 March 2001

    SEED Working Paper No. 19 - Series on women’s entrepreneurship development and gender in enterprises (WEDGE)

  9. Jobs, gender and small enterprises in Africa and Asia : lessons drawn from Bangladesh, the Philippines, Tunisia and Zimbabwe

    15 February 2001

    SEED Working Paper No. 18 - Series on women’s entrepreneurship development and gender in enterprises (WEDGE)

  10. Jobs, gender and small enterprises : getting the policy environment right

    01 January 2001

    SEED Working Paper No. 15 - Series on women’s entrepreneurship development and gender in enterprises (WEDGE)

  11. Jobs, gender and small enterprises in Bangladesh : factors affecting women entrepreneurs in small and cottage industries in Bangladesh

    10 February 2001

    SEED Working Paper No. 14 - Series on women’s entrepreneurship development and gender in enterprises (WEDGE)

  12. Promoting women’s entrepreneurship development based on good practice programmes : some experiences from the North to the South

    01 January 2001

    SEED Working Paper No. 9 - Series on women’s entrepreneurship development and gender in enterprises (WEDGE)