USAID/Georgia and Crystal Fund to Empower Women under New U.S. Government Initiative

Speeches Shim

Monday, July 15, 2019
Guko, a shoemaker who receives entrepreneurship support via YES-Georgia

USAID/Georgia and Crystal Fund in partnership with JSC Micro Finance Organization Crystal (JSC MFO Crystal) announced an expanded partnership to empower women entrepreneurs in Georgia. The partners intend to contribute more than $1 million in new funding to Supporting Youth Entrepreneurial Skills for Advancing Employability and Income Generation in Georgia (YES-Georgia).

The activity, implemented by Crystal Fund, was selected by the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Fund, part of the U.S. government’s broader W-GDP initiative. It was one of 14 activities selected worldwide and the only one from the Europe and Eurasia region.

Supported by the W-GDP Fund, the partners intend to inject new capital into YES-Georgia while orienting its focus toward empowering women. YES-Georgia plans to use the funding to provide women entrepreneurs with the skills and services needed to enhance their ability to access finance.  The YES-Georgia program has found that women entrepreneurs seek finance less frequently and in lower amounts than their male colleagues.

This program will seek to reduce that gap by providing women with skills and opportunities to secure funding for their businesses. The activity will work to reach more than 2,000 women through training and access to legal and accounting services as well as mentoring and networking opportunities. To increase outreach to women in rural areas, the program will integrate mobile business services through “Buzz-Georgia.” Women who participate in the program will be encouraged to participate in competitions to access an equity fund managed by JSC MFO Crystal. 

W-GDP is built around three pillars: women prospering in the workforce; women succeeding as entrepreneurs; and women enabled in the economy. YES-Georgia directly addresses the second and third pillars, providing technical support for women entrepreneurs and helping overcome cultural barriers to their entrepreneurial success.

Strengthening Self-Reliance in Georgia

The goals and objectives of the YES-Georgia initiative are aligned with USAID/Georgia’s goals as well as the Government of Georgia’s 2018-2020 National Action Plan on Gender Equality. By providing women entrepreneurs with the tools necessary to start and scale businesses, the partnership intends to contribute to narrowing the gender gap and supporting economic growth in the country at large.

The U.S. Mission in Georgia operates on the premise that greater gender equality is necessary for inclusive and sustainable growth, a condition for the country’s economic self-reliance.  

About the W-GDP Fund

The White House launched the W-GDP initiative in February 2019 to advance women’s economic empowerment worldwide. W-GDP is a whole-of-government effort, with USAID managing the W-GDP Fund, a $27 million program to source and scale the most innovative and impactful programs being implemented by the U.S. government.

The W-GDP Fund will mobilize partnerships to leverage more than $260 million from private sources, bilateral and multilateral donors, NGOs, universities, and foreign governments. It aims to empower more than 100,000 women in 22 countries.

Last updated: December 23, 2020

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