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Women’s Entrepreneurship Finance Community of Practice (CoP) - Alternatives to Lack of Consistent Data in Financing W-SMEs

01 December 2021
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African Women holding a table with coin stacks
Background
The objective of the new Women Entrepreneurs Financing Community of Practice (CoP) is to effectively share knowledge and best practices, tools and innovative products to facilitate increased services to W-SMEs. To discuss and agree on how best to build a sustainable community of practice, we organized the first meeting on December 16th, 2020. Its purpose was to discuss and agree on priority areas of focus and how to best structure the CoP to serve memberson how best to build a sustainable community to effectively share lessons learned on how to increase financial services to W-SMEs. About 40 members and IFC staff from diverse regions and institutions attended the meeting. 
 
 
Alternatives to Lack of Consistent Data in Financing W-SMEs
Women-SMEs (W-SMEs) disproportionately lack access to traditional credit facilities through banks and other traditional lenders compared to their male counterparts. There is also limited gender disaggregated supply side credit data on SME borrowers. This information asymmetry has paved the way for identifying new approaches to filling gender data gaps, including the use of alternative data in lending operations and impact assessment. In many markets, lenders are finding new ways of accelerating offerings to underserved individuals and businesses, utilizing alternative data. For women, who have historically been the victims of unconscious bias in lending decisions, leveraging alternative data in credit operations could create a level playing field and facilitate access to gender disaggregated data for financial services and policy interventions.
 
The adoption of alternative data comes with various challenges and concerns that need to be addressed for it to be effectively leveraged. However, access to credit for W-SMEs and individuals can be enhanced and expanded by promoting the use of alternative data.  
 
During our next session, on December 1st from 8 a.m. to 9.30 a.m. EST, volunteers from the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) will share experiences from work with partner financial institutions (PFIs) in utilizing alternative data in credit operations and impact evaluation. They will dive deep into the opportunities alternative data presents to closing the financing gap for W-SMEs.
 
Objectives of the discussion
Share experiences on alternative approaches in lending operations of W-SMEs 
Insights on alternative approaches in Impact Evaluations
Deep dive into challenges and possible approaches to fill gender data gaps
Regulatory Requirements and Policy interventions 
Cultural and Systemic Barriers impacting W-SMEs
Facilitate participants contribution in sharing unique experience and solutions 
 
 
Volunteer:
Isabelle Brun, Head of Strategic Development & Special Topics, Council of Europe Development Bank
 
Being a CoP, member participants will also be encouraged to share their own unique experiences in this area, including achievements and questions they are now asking on the topics below:
 
Registration is open for members on Member's portal.
 
By registering to this event, you agree to the SME Finance Forum/IFC Event Privacy Notice.
 
If interested in participating, please contact Minerva Kotei for more information.