Entrepreneurship and small-scale producers

CARE International supports women from vulnerable communities to develop their own businesses and have more control over economic resources.

The importance of entrepreneurship and small-scale producers

Unleashing the entrepreneurial potential of women is a triple opportunity: it's good for women, business, and economic growth. Globally, the number of women owning businesses is increasing. In the developing world, it is estimated that women own approximately 8-10 million formal small and medium-sized enterprises, accounting for 31-38% of all small and medium-sized enterprises in emerging markets.

Embedding women’s empowerment and gender inclusion interventions in small and medium-sized enterprises can impact the future growth of economies and have long-term benefits for women and their communities.

Beyond strengthening women’s aspirations and skills, successful entrepreneurship programming also:

  • Tackles structural barriers by increasing access to market information and the digital economy
  • Increases women’s leadership and participation in the development of government policies
  • Co-develops gender-equitable financial products and services
  • Works alongside men and boys to challenge patriarchal social norms

What is CARE International doing to make entrepreneurship more accessible?

CARE International helps women gain access to basic financial services such as bank accounts and to business skills training. Combined with efforts to strengthen women’s economic decision-making power and develop a more supportive environment in both the household and the community, more women can start businesses, leading to financial independence.

In Jordan, CARE International is helping to provide vocational training and small loans to vulnerable young Jordanian women and men so that they can start their own business.

Text that reads "H&M Foundation in partnership with CARE" over an image of someone writing in a notebook. Play video

Bedryyah, a Syrian refugee who lives in Jordan, now has her own catering business thanks to the Women in Enterprise program.

CARE International’s Women in Enterprise program, in partnership with the H&M Foundation, a global program to support women from poor communities to be entrepreneurs. One member, Narcisa Cruz Sosa, is from Chulucanas in the north of Peru and makes artisanal ceramics. In 2008, she set up her own association for women artisans. She said, “We started out with eight women and now we just keep on growing.”

Narcisa is now President of the Consortium of Women Entrepreneurs of Piura which represents 21 associations of women entrepreneurs, with over 300 members.

CARE International has supported the association with business and soft skills training, to register a collective brand, enabling them to strengthen their collective reach and income, and has also linked the association with local and regional government fairs and events.

Through the Women in Enterprise program, CARE has supported nearly 270,000 women entrepreneurs in 11 countries, with women seeing an average increase in daily enterprise earnings of 91%.