San Francisco, California - Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Cathy Russell joined representatives from Kiva and the Inter-American Development Bank today to launch the Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund at Kiva’s headquarters in San Francisco.

The Fund is a new initiative that will help expand access to finance for women in 83 countries. When lenders respond to a woman entrepreneur’s request for a loan through Kiva’s online platform, their contributions will be matched dollar for dollar by the Fund, to which donors are able to contribute at a minimum of $250,000.

As part of the Fund, the Department will support data collection and analysis to measure how effective the initiative is in expanding women’s access to finance. The data will help illustrate the financial needs and activity of women entrepreneurs around the world by measuring several indicators, including the size of loans women are taking on, in which industry, and for what purpose.

This new initiative responds to the steep challenges facing many women entrepreneurs looking to access capital. According to the International Finance Corporation, as many as 70 percent of women-owned small and medium enterprises in developing economies are unserved or underserved by financial institutions, contributing to a global credit gap of $260 to $320 billion for women alone.

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