Strive Women: Her Business,
Her Financial Future

Strive Women supports women entrepreneurs to feel confident, resilient, in control, and equipped to grow their businesses, so they gain economic power in their households, communities, and economies.

Overview

Strive Women, a four-year program led by CARE and supported by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, strengthens the financial health of women-led small businesses in Pakistan, Peru, and Vietnam. Women-led small businesses are critical contributors to economies, communities, and households worldwide.

Working with local partners, Strive Women takes a women-centered design approach to deliver tailored financial products and support services, such as digital skills building and strengthening women’s networks. The program addresses the unique gender barriers faced by women-led businesses and tests innovations related to the climate crisis and childcare, which both disproportionately impact women.

Building on a long-term commitment to women entrepreneurs, CARE is also activating an inclusive ecosystem of stakeholders.

Program Highlights

Strive Women

Where: Vietnam

When: 2023-2027

Donor: Mastercard Impact Fund

Impact in Vietnam:

Campaign outreach: 8,000,000

Direct support to 90,000+ entrepreneurs

>90% Women-led Businesses

Loans: 7,800

Project Highlights

Strive Women

Where: Pakistan, Peru, Vietnam

When: 2023-2027

Donor: Mastercard Impact Fund

Impact by 2027:

6 million+ reached

Direct support to 300,000+ entrepreneurs

>70% women

education and work icon

Education and Work

Overview

Strive Women, a four-year program led by CARE and supported by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, strengthens the financial health of women-led small businesses in Pakistan, Peru, and Vietnam. Women-led small businesses are critical contributors to economies, communities, and households worldwide.

Working with local partners, Strive Women takes a women-centered design approach to deliver tailored financial products and support services, such as digital skills building and strengthening women’s networks. The program addresses the unique gender barriers faced by women-led businesses and tests innovations related to the climate crisis and childcare, which both disproportionately impact women.

Building on a long-term commitment to women entrepreneurs, CARE is also activating an inclusive ecosystem of stakeholders. While the program will directly support over 300,000 entrepreneurs, Strive Women aims to reach over 6 million entrepreneurs in total through its campaigns.

Partner with us

Interested in partnering with Strive Women? Contact us at tranthiminh.nguyet@care.org

The opportunity

Micro, small, and medium enterprises account for 90% of businesses, 60-70% of employment, and 50% of GDP worldwide (UN, 2023). Women-led small businesses are critical contributors to economies, communities, and households worldwide. However, women do not have equal access to finance. By not recognizing the potential of the women’s market, businesses are losing out on a huge opportunity. In the financial services sector, 80% of women-owned small businesses with credit needs are either unserved or underserved—a $1.7 trillion financing gap (UNSGSA, 2018).

Financial health

By focusing on the financial health of a woman entrepreneur, CARE and partners will support her to balance both her household and business cashflow, prepare for and manage financial shocks, and increase her decision-making power. Ultimately, Strive Women supports women running small businesses to feel confident, in control, and able to invest in what matters to both her family and her business.

Our focus

Strive Women supports micro and small enterprises, 70% of which will be women-led with at least two employees, and who have been in business for at least two years. The program runs from 2023 to 2027 in Pakistan, Peru, and Vietnam where women face multiple gender barriers and there are large segments of unserved and underserved micro and small businesses ready for investment.

women

Barriers for women

– Despite making up 21% of formal enterprises, women entrepreneurs face a $6.2 billion financing gap for their businesses. 
 
– Obstacles include the lack of formal financial records, limited collateral access, and a shortage of specialized financial products.
 
– Harmful gender norms persist – with 80% of men and 60% of women believing businesswomen should be the main childcare provider, despite the pressures of running a business.

women

Barriers for women

Globally, demand for equality remains unmet:
 
– 80% of women-owned small businesses with credit needs are either unserved or underserved (UNSGSA, 2018).
 
– Globally, women spend on average 2.4+ more hours per day on unpaid care work compared to men, even when they run a business (World Bank, 2022).
 
– More than 1 in 4 women don’t have full financial decision-making power in their own businesses (CARE, 2022).
 
– Top barriers for women for mobile ownership and mobile internet use are: affordability, literacy and skills, safety and security, and family does not approve (GSMA, 2023).

The opportunity

Micro, small, and medium enterprises account for 90% of businesses, 60-70% of employment, and 50% of GDP worldwide (UN, 2023). Women-led small businesses are critical contributors to economies, communities, and households worldwide. However, women do not have equal access to finance. By not recognizing the potential of the women’s market, businesses are losing out on a huge opportunity. In the financial services sector, 80% of women-owned small businesses with credit needs are either unserved or underserved—a $1.7 trillion financing gap (UNSGSA, 2018).

Financial health

By focusing on the financial health of a woman entrepreneur, CARE and partners will support her to balance both her household and business cashflow, prepare for and manage financial shocks, and increase her decision-making power. Ultimately, Strive Women supports women running small businesses to feel confident, in control, and able to invest in what matters to both her family and her business.

Our focus

Strive Women supports micro and small enterprises, 70% of which will be women-led with at least two employees, and who have been in business for at least two years. The program runs from 2023 to 2027 in Pakistan, Peru, and Vietnam where women face multiple gender barriers and there are large segments of unserved and underserved micro and small businesses ready for investment.

Group of strive women
Strive women

Latest News & Resources

Strive women - entrepreneurs

Mastercard and CARE Partner to Launch Strive Women

At the APEC CEO Summit today, Mastercard’s Center for Inclusive Growth (the Center) and CARE, an international humanitarian organization, announced the launch of Mastercard Strive Women – a new program that aims to strengthen the financial health and resilience of small businesses in the APEC economies of Peru and Vietnam, as well as in Pakistan, with a focus on small businesses led by women.

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Ignite Final Report

Ignite set out to reach 3.9 million entrepreneurs in 3 years with $5.26 million USD in grant funding from Mastercard.

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Ignite Program

In partnership with Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, CARE’s Ignite Program unleashed the power of growth-oriented entrepreneurs.

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Mastercard Strive

Strive Women is part of Mastercard Strive, a global portfolio of philanthropic programs aimed at helping small businesses around the world thrive in the digital economy. The program is implemented by CARE, supported by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, and funded with a $9 million USD investment from the Mastercard Impact Fund.