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Impact Entrepreneur Luminarias Webinar

Empowering Women Entrepreneurs in the Global South


Impact Entrepreneur’s Webinar Summary

In developing nations, the stark reality for women reveals entrenched barriers to entrepreneurship that, if surmounted, could unlock a staggering $5-6 trillion global opportunity. Only 17% of women currently helm their own businesses, yet a further 35% harbor the aspiration to do so. Despite this ambition, they grapple with formidable challenges: from restricted access to capital and land, societal norms limiting mobility, to the disproportionate burden of unpaid care work. The cost of inaction is high, with projections indicating it might take centuries to close gaps in legal protection, eradicate child marriage, and achieve gender parity in leadership and political representation.

To discuss the critical barriers impeding women entrepreneurs and strategies to dismantle them, iDE’s CEO Lizz Welch and Global Director of Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Learning (MERL) Jennifer Roglà, PhD, joined Impact Entrepreneur’s Founder and CEO Laurie Lane-Zucker as featured guests on the Luminarias webinar, “Empowering Women Entrepreneurs in the Global South.”

Webinar topics ranged from the societal and economic challenges facing women entrepreneurs, key strategies for powering women based on research and learnings from iDE’s four decades of creating market-led solutions for ending poverty and how philanthropy can contribute to expanding opportunities for women entrepreneurs around the world.

View the Conversation

“We’ve been working on market-based development for over 42 years as an organization and in that time we’ve learned three critical things that apply to this landscape. First, we’ve learned the benefits of using business driven solutions to tackling social problems. Second, we have seen firsthand and the research shows the multiplier effect of investing in women-headed households and women-led businesses. And then finally, it's really important that when we are looking at the economic benefits that we are also looking at the social impact benefits of investing in women-led businesses and women-headed households.”

-Lizz Welch, CEO

Watch the webinar to hear more insights from Welch and Roglà on iDE’s strategic approach to powering women entrepreneurs to end poverty and create prosperity in their communities.

Inclusive Strategy Report

Given the lack of globally-available gender disaggregated data, iDE conducted a participatory data collection activity in 2023 that asks the question: “How do the people and households with whom we work define prosperity and what are their goals for the future?” iDE's purpose in conducting the research initiative was to underpin its forward-looking organizational strategy with an understanding of their client's perspectives.

Illustration and design by Rubab Islam.

Read More

Gender Equality and Social Inclusion

Resilient market ecosystems must be inclusive of marginalized groups

Power imbalances and harmful social norms prevent women—as well as men and socially excluded groups—from going about their lives freely, preventing them from taking full and equal advantage of opportunity.


Read more: Our approach to inclusion starts with us