The toolkit was developed by ESCAP in close collaboration with all 10 ASEAN member countries. It was designed to enable policymakers involved in promoting women entrepreneurship, especially the MSME development agencies, assess gaps, take stock of opportunities, and design gender-focused interventions through national policies to advance women’s entrepreneurship in the ASEAN region.

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It is a priority economic deliverable under Cambodia’s ASEAN Chairmanship in 2022 and was endorsed by the ASEAN Economic Ministers at the 54th ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting in September 2022, and was subsequently acknowledged at the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summits.

It is also an initiative spearheaded by the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), supported by ESCAP, and funded by the Government of Canada under the “Catalyzing Women’s Entrepreneurship Program.”

Empowering women – especially women entrepreneurs running MSMEs – is a prerequisite for ASEAN member countries to succeed in achieving the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint 2025 and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its promise of ‘leaving no one behind.’  Hence, MSME agencies in the countries are championing women’s entrepreneurship by taking concrete steps towards improving the policy ecosystem for women-led businesses in ASEAN.

Source: VNA