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Fostering Women's Entrepreneurship in ASEAN

Transforming Prospects, Transforming Societies

image of Fostering Women's Entrepreneurship in ASEAN

Entrepreneurship is a key means through which women can both empower themselves and contribute to inclusive and sustainable development. A vital part of this agenda includes the 61.3 million women who own and operate businesses within the ten member States of ASEAN. It is the particular challenges and opportunities that the recently introduced ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) will bring to women entrepreneurs which provide the impetus and focus for this report. The measures set out in the AEC Blueprint 2025 are expected to affect the prospects for SME growth in various ways. This publication proposes critical actions that can be taken by ASEAN governments to address the particular constraints facing women entrepreneurs — in association with the finance sector, entrepreneur associations, international agencies, civil society and other key actors — towards the realization of both the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the AEC Blueprint 2025.

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A profile of women entrepreneurs

The characteristics of women entrepreneurs in ASEAN vary between countries, but GEM data can be used to outline a general profi le. Overall, women entrepreneurs are likely to be in their late-30s, and slightly older than their male counterparts. Women are also more likely than men to be involved in early-stage entrepreneurial activity and in micro and small enterprises, particularly in retail and service activities. The lack of fi nance cited as a key factor in business discontinuance in the case of women. Women are also likely to have lower growth expectations than men, as well as lower levels of international market orientation, being largely based in and focused on local markets.

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