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    - Improving financial access and technical skills training for female entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia -

Establishment of the Asian Women's Impact Fund
- Improving financial access and technical skills training for female entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia -

November 10, 2017

 At a meeting held on September 29, 2017, the executive committee of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation resolved to establish the Asian Women's Impact Fund, the beneficiaries of which will be women and female entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia.
 As of fiscal year 2017, the Sasakawa Peace Foundation has made women's empowerment one of its five priority goals, and has launched various programs aimed at solving problems in this area from a medium- and long-term perspective based on research conducted in Japan and overseas.
 Southeast Asia is made up of countries at different stages of socio-economic development and women can often suffer from a lack of employment opportunities and thus entrepreneurship is an important means to make a living. However, in many cases women have great difficulties obtaining loans from financial institutions, meaning that female entrepreneurs have to keep their operations small. In order for women to actively participate in society, it is necessary to create an environment that leads to a reduction in social gender disparities. The Sasakawa Peace Foundation believes that improving women's access to finance is an effective means to achieve this goal.

 Accordingly, the Asian Women's Impact Fund aims to promote women's economic empowerment and gender equality in Southeast Asia. In more concrete terms, a part of the assets managed by the Foundation will be allocated for investment in financial instruments that contribute to improving the status of women, such as microfinance and women-related ESG funds. Furthermore, the Foundation will seek to maximize social impact by investing the income from asset-associated investments into activities and organizations which support female entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia.

 Outline of the Asian Women's Impact Fund
Publication Date November 10, 2017
Establishment Period Late 2017
Asset Target 10 billion yen
・In the first fiscal year, the Foundation plans to begin with at most about one billion yen, increasing to 10 billion yen in the course of a few years.
Steering Committee The committee is composed of eight experts in finance and gender equality.
Investment Policy Investment will be made in funds that promote women's economic empowerment or gender equality and whose effect will be measurable according to clear criteria.
Use of Investment Income Income earned through investment will be provided in the form of project funding to institutions that directly support women entrepreneurs in Asia by improving their access to finance, and support them to acquire knowledge and skills. Additionally, the income will be used to aid systems-level ecosystem development aimed at female entrepreneurs.
Activities in Fiscal Year 2017 Projects and surveys to support women entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia will be implemented before the fund is established.
Moreover, the Foundation will initiate a program which utilizes ICT to provide technical support to female entrepreneurs.

  Mr. Ogata / Ms. Nakahara, Sasakawa Peace Foudation, Public Relations Department, Tel.03-5157-5398

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