Enabling environment for women’s entrepreneurship development

Instructional material | 14 November 2022
Women’s entrepreneurship development requires an economic, political, social and cultural context that recognizes and celebrates women as social and economic agents, supports the diversity of women as business creators, owners and leaders of all types of businesses, and ensures they have access to relevant and tailored financial and business development services and market opportunities.

Yet, how to know if and when an environment, or ecosystem, is favorable to women’s entrepreneurship development? What policies and programmes can be promoted to help ensure ecosystems are gender-inclusive and favorable to businesses run, owned and led by women?

To help answer these questions, the ILO-WED programme has, since the early 2000s, worked on developing frameworks and assessment tools geared towards supporting ILO constituents and other national and development actors to identify strengths and bottlenecks in socio and economic environments/ecosystem impacting a country or sector’s potential for women’s entrepreneurship development.

By identifying conditions requiring specific attention, stakeholders such as governments, employer organizations, women entrepreneurs’ associations, and private and public financial and business development service providers, and development actors are better able to design, advocate for and implement policies and programmes in favor of women as entrepreneurs and business owners.

To do this, ILO-WED promotes and oversees two evidence-based methodologies for analysis, advocacy and action:
  • At the national (or geographic) level, the Assessment of Framework Conditions for Women’s Entrepreneurship Development offers an assessment tool to gather and assess a comprehensive body of information about the status of women’s entrepreneurship development and identify targeted measures to improve the ecosystem for women’s entrepreneurship development. The assessment covers 1) the rules and regulations, 2) policy leadership and coordination, 3) access to financial services, 4) access to business development services, 5) access to markets and ICTs and 6) representation and participation of women entrepreneurs in public policy and dialogue.
  • At a sector and value chain level, an Inclusive Market Systems and Gender-Sensitive Value Chain Analysis and Development approach offers insights into key root causes impacting the full participation of women entrepreneurs along value chains and sectors and helps national and development partners explore systemic solutions that may help women move up along value chains, be protected by gender-sensitive rules and regulations and access gender-inclusive support functions.

National assessments for women’s entrepreneurship development




Asia and the Pacific

Gender-sensitive market system and value chain analysis