Business development and financial services for women’s entrepreneurship development

Instructional material | 14 November 2022
Business development services, such as business management trainings, networks, mentorship opportunities, and market information, as well as financial services, are key to the success of women entrepreneurs. Many of these services are, however, gender neutral, or do not cater to the specific needs and realities of women entrepreneurs.

The ILO seeks to strengthen the capacity of organizations providing support to entrepreneurs to become more gender sensitive and deliver products and services that are better tailored to the needs of women entrepreneurs.

The ILO-WED Programme does this through the promotion of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Self-Check (WE-Check) process among service providers. WE-Check is a gender-sensitive self-assessment methodology for medium-sized organizations serving entrepreneurs. It guides public and private, financial and business development service providers through a self-reflection process aiming to improve the way they serve women entrepreneurs. It culminates in a WE-Check action plan, i.e. a practical roadmap that organizations can follow to make their communications and outreach, products and services, and internal processes more gender-sensitive and thus better adapted to the needs of women entrepreneurs. By improving services, organizations can also expect to improve on their outreach, their client-base and ultimately on their overall sustainability.

WE-Checks are embedded interventions in ILO-led enterprise development cooperation projects in countries. ILO-WED is keen however to explore the promotion and use of WE-Checks in other contexts and by other development organizations.

Financial and business development service providers wishing to learn more about the WE-Check or undertake a WE-Check Process, may contact ILO-WED to explore options.

In addition to the WE-Check, ILO-WED develops and makes available additional knowledge products to support service providers such as the
Guide on gender-inclusive service provision is available and capacity building activities may be organized on the guide.

Become a WE-Check Facilitator: WE-Check processes are guided by facilitators who have been trained and certified by the ILO. If you are passionate about transforming business development and financial services so they are more accessible and relevant to women entrepreneurs, learn more about how to become a WE-Check Facilitator and register here.

Join the WE-Check Global Community of Practice: The WE-Check Global Community of Practice is a space for WE-Check facilitators and organisations who have undergone WE-Check to exchange and share their experiences, and for the ILO-WED programme to communicate updates, good practices, and news on WE-Check. To find out more, reach out to us at