The ILO and JPMorgan Chase Foundation have signed a new agreement for the ILO to implement the ‘Rebuilding Better: Fostering Business Resilience Post-COVID-19’ project. Targeting women entrepreneurs in Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand, the project will provide support for businesses to recover from the pandemic and adopt more sustainable and resilient business models.
Small businesses in Asia have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Following social distancing measures, lock-downs and disruption of supply chains and markets, these and other constraints have impeded their performance and growth. For women entrepreneurs in particular, who are typically less resilient to the impact of adverse economic shocks, accessing support services will be critical to their stabilization and recovery.
The Rebuilding Better project, which will be implemented over 18 months, will bring about solutions to improve women entrepreneurs’ access to training, finance, and markets. Working with local partners, the project will train women-owned businesses on topics including business and financial management, financial literacy, productivity and occupational safety and health. The project will also make information about existing and relevant financial services and products more widely available and provide assistance to small businesses to prepare applications for such services while addressing key constraints preventing access. In addition, the project will, together with partners, deliver relevant information about new market opportunities. The project will consider digitalization a key crosscutting theme and employ a hybrid in-person and virtual model to deliver assistance to supported businesses. This will aim to increase their online presence and application of digital technology, while also serving to maintain their personal safety.
“J.P. Morgan remains committed to supporting programs that create pathways to opportunity for underserved and disadvantaged communities. Through our partnership with the ILO, we hope to enable women entrepreneurs to develop their digital capabilities, better adapt to a fast-moving virtual environment, and help rebuild their businesses to be more sustainable and resilient amid any crisis,” says Murli Maiya, CEO for South and Southeast Asia, J.P. Morgan.
Welcoming the new project, Graeme Buckley, Director, ILO Country Office for Thailand, Cambodia and Lao PDR, said, “Women entrepreneurs in Asia are disproportionally affected by the COVID-19 crisis and many are currently suffering large setbacks. The Rebuilding Better initiative will support women-owned small businesses to recover and be more resilient, by helping them to harness digital technologies as well as available support services. Ultimately, this will contribute to the development of inclusive, resilient and sustainable economies, with decent work for all.”