Fostering Women’s Entrepreneurship in ASEAN: Transforming Prospects, Transforming Societies

Social Development Division of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (2017)

This study examines the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in the ASEAN subregion. ASEAN has emerged as the most successful grouping in Asia and Pacific with gradual deepening of regional economic integration culminating in the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015. The anticipated free movement of goods, services, investment, skilled labour, and free flow of capital as set out in the AEC Blueprint 2025 presents both opportunities and challenges for businesses. The measures are expected to affect the prospects for the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), many of which are owned by women, in various ways. These range from the benefits of access to enlarged market of 632 million people and to improved physical and ICT infrastructure, but also challenges due to increased competition. The study analyses the challenges that AEC may have for SMEs especially those owned and operated by women and comes up with policy lessons to address them, including through improved access to financing and technology to reap the benefits of regional economic integration. The analysis is based on data extracted from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Surveys for 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 for six ASEAN countries namely Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam, among other sources.
The report begins with a brief introduction to the AEC and the implications for entrepreneurs, before exploring in detail the profile of women entrepreneurs within ASEAN and the challenges they face, including in relation to accessing finance and credit as well as harnessing innovative technologies. It makes a case for creating a gender-sensitive ecosystem for promoting women entrepreneurship and concludes with policy lessons in that direction.

For more information, please read more at (English): Fostering Women’s Entrepreneurship in ASEAN: Transforming Prospects, Transforming Societies