Dealflow | May 24, 2017

Saudis pledge first $100 million for World Bank facility for women entrepreneurs

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Expect to hear more about the Women’s Entrepreneurship Facility before the G-20 meeting in July, where World Bank President Jim Yong Kim wants to announce a $1 billion raise.

Ivanka Trump initiated discussions with Kim about the fund, which also has the support of Germany’s Angela Merkel. That Saudi Arabia is contributing to the fund’s first $100 million, along with the U.A.E., raised eyebrows, given the Gulf kingdom’s overt gender inequality. The pledge coincided with the visit of President Trump (and Ivanka).

The initiative may be modeled on an earlier women’s enterprise fund, started in partnership with Goldman Sachs and the International Finance Corporation. That fund was championed by top White House advisor, Dina Powell, then head of Goldman’s impact investing group.

There’s little disagreement women business owners need financing. At least 70 percent of women-owned businesses worldwide lack access to finance, a credit gap of $300 billion.