Call for Research Proposals: Evidence-based Financial Solutions for Women Entrepreneurs

Required Skill: 
Last date: 
Monday, August 31, 2020

Detailed Description

United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) is issuing a Call for Research Proposals to undertake human centered design inspired research.

The research should explore the nuanced challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in accessing financing at different stages of their enterprise journey and offer solutions to those challenges. The end objective of this applied research is to identify innovative financial solutions that can be developed or tailored to best address the needs and demands of women entrepreneurs.

The research outcome should address gaps in knowledge and improve the understanding of the business environment and financial constraints facing women entrepreneurs’ access and usage of financial services, in at least one of the following countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Fiji, Nepal, Samoa and/or Viet Nam.

The research findings will be used to inform the design of private sector solutions that enhance different groups of women entrepreneurs’ access and use of financial services, as well as inspire replication of proposed solutions in the market. Additionally, the research will be made publicly available to contribute to the body of literature on barriers women enterprises face in accessing finance.

Applicant Benefits

Successful applications will receive:

  • Up to US$ 25,000 in funding to undertake the research;
  • Support from ESCAP’s Research Technical Advisory Group, which will provide technical advice in research design and peer reviews of the research outputs;
  • Publication of the research, subject to United Nations standards and publication guidelines;
  • The chance for the research to inform the design of private sector financial solutions for women entrepreneurs.

Geographic Scope of Research

  • Applicants can be based anywhere globally, however the research must focus on women entrepreneurs in one or several of the following countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Fiji, Nepal, Samoa and/or Viet Nam. No other geographic coverage will be considered for funding.
  • While applicants can be based anywhere globally. It is encouraged that applicants who apply from countries other than 6 target countries, partner with a local institution.

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants are encouraged to create coalitions and partnerships to undertake the research. The lead applicant, must fall into one of the following categories:

  • Not-for-profit organization
  • Government entity
  • United Nations entity or multi-lateral organization
  • Individual researcher
  • Private sector institutions are also encouraged to apply, however must partner with one of the 4 categories of eligible “lead partners” listed above. The private sector applicant must therefore be a partner to the lead applicant.


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