The Policy Toolkit project was initiated by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) under the Catalyzing Women’s Entrepreneurship (CWE) Programme, in partnership with the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (ACCMSME) to advocate women entrepreneur-centric policies and initiatives in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region and to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystems that foster women’s entrepreneurship.
The ultimate purpose of the Toolkit is to provide a framework and methodology for integrating women entrepreneur-centric policies and provisions in national micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) policies and action plans. It will assist policymakers, particularly from ministries and agencies responsible for MSME development in assessing the development of women’s entrepreneurship at the national level and through the completion of the self-assessment process in developing insight on actions to be taken to strengthen policy support and develop a positive ecosystem for women’s entrepreneurship.
Use of the Policy Toolkit will enable policymakers to establish a baseline and monitor longitudinal progress of initiatives targeting the advancement of women-owned-led MSMEs (WMSMEs). It will also lead to more gender-responsive development of the MSME sector and a greater contribution of women entrepreneurs and women-owned-led enterprises to the economy.
The self-assessment tool is intended for primary use by ministries and agencies responsible for MSMEs to ensure the gender perspective is incorporated into MSME policies and measures; reduce the gender gaps in entrepreneurial and MSME activities; and assess gender equality results in terms of the participation of women in business ownership and the scaling of their businesses. The self-assessment tool can also provide broader guidance and insight to regulatory bodies, and key stakeholder organizations and ecosystem members, such as financial institutions, business development service providers and business associations, including women entrepreneurs’ associations, regarding the key policies and measures required to advance women’s entrepreneurship in the country.