June 1, 2020

Report Urges Escalated Support to Women-Owned Business During Pandemic

WASHINGTON, DC, June 1, 2020 — Breaking down barriers to new markets and capital is essential for women-owned businesses to survive and thrive, especially during the current pandemic, according to a new report launched today by the Council on Scaling Women-Owned Businesses.

How to Rebuild Global Business for Good, a special report underwritten by Moody’s Corporation and TD Bank Group and led by WEConnect International, identifies a massive oversight in the ecosystem of support for women business owners and outlines a global strategy to support inclusive economic growth during and after COVID-19 by leveraging the power of women-owned businesses as innovators and job creators.

“There is an urgent need for women-owned businesses to have equal access to markets and capital,” said Arlene Isaacs-Lowe, Council Chair, Global Head of Corporate Social Responsibility for Moody’s Corporation and President of the Moody’s Foundation. “This need has only been exacerbated by the current pandemic, making it more important than ever for corporations and government agencies to assist women business owners with growing and scaling their enterprises.”

According to the report, when women succeed as business owners because of better access to both markets and capital, everyone benefits – employees, families, communities and the global economy:

  • Small and growing women-owned businesses are one of the most significant drivers of innovation and job growth in both developed and emerging markets.
  • When women gain access to finance and increase their sales, they invest their income in better health, welfare and education for their households and communities.
  • Closing the gender disparity gap would add trillions of dollars to global GDP.

The report details approaches to help women-owned businesses grow by reducing existing barriers and improving economic empowerment through data disaggregation, strategic partnerships, procurement opportunities, financing opportunities, research and education.

More business education and knowledge sharing will also reduce risk bias against women business owners, improve inclusive investing and inclusive sourcing practices and minimize market-level social, legal, political and tech barriers, the report found.

“Connecting access to markets with access to capital was identified by Council members as a major pain point for growth-oriented women-owned businesses. Stakeholders must work together to tackle both critical challenges at the same time if we want to rebuild global business for good,” said Elizabeth A. Vazquez, CEO and Co-Founder of WEConnect International.


The Council leaders who generously shared their subject matter expertise, data and recommendations to help make this report possible include:

Arlene Isaacs-Lowe, Council Chair
Global Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Moody’s Corporation and President, Moody’s Foundation

Michal Pillay
Supplier Diversity Manager, Absa Group Limited

Sandra Orgu
Gender Specialist, Access Bank PLC

Charlotte Nellist
Vice President, Head of Global Contract Strategy and Execution, American Express

Harvey Butler
Global Head of Supplier Diversity, Barclays

Laura Didyk
Vice President and National Lead, Women Entrepreneurs, Business Development Bank of Canada

Javette Hines
Director, SC Supplier Senior Group Manager and Head of Supply Chain Development, Inclusion and Sustainability, Citi

Inez Murray
CEO, Financial Alliance for Women

Charlotte Keenan
Global Director of 10,000 Women, Goldman Sachs

Anoushka Mehta
Head of Gender Lens Finance, Americas & Global Relationship Banker, Public Sector, HSBC

Heather Mae Kipnis
Entrepreneurship Lead, Gender Business Group, International Finance Corporation

William Kapfer
Global Head of Supplier Diversity, JPMorgan Chase

Emily Bishop
Responsible Sourcing & Supplier Diversity Lead, Mastercard

Julie Baker
Head of Enterprise and Community Finance, RBS Group

Chantal Pitre
Manager, Women in Entrepreneurship, TD Bank Group

Berna Tüzüner
Senior Manager, Women Banking Development, Turkish Economy Bank

Kathryn Kaufman
Managing Director for Global Women’s Issues, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation

Elizabeth A. Vazquez
CEO and Co-Founder, WEConnect International

Rachael McKenzie
National Manager Business Initiatives, SME Banking & Connect Now, Westpac Business Bank

Mary Ellen Iskenderian
President and CEO, Women’s World Banking

The Council on Scaling Women-Owned Businesses has also compiled supplemental resources, including related case studies, lessons learned and industry programs seeking strategic partners, available on the website.

Contact details: For more information or media interviews, please contact Angela Walker, VP of Communications, WEConnect International, at: awalker@weconnectinternational.org or +1-202-446-8840