REUTERS

The International Labor Organization (ILO) has teamed up with JPMorgan and Co. to establish a program that will support female entrepreneurs in the Philippines and elsewhere in the region to help them better deal with the pandemic, which has highlighted the problem of inequality in business recovery.

The program. “Rebuilding Better: Fostering Business Resilience Post-COVID-19,” will help female entrepreneurs in the Philippines, Thailand, and Malaysia.

“The project will leverage digital tools to enhance women entrepreneurs’ access to critical support services, such as financial resources, training, market information and networks,” the ILO said.

The program will run for 18 months, focusing on small business owners in the manufacturing, service and retail trade sectors in urban areas. These were the sectors viewed to be most affected by the lockdown.

The ILO director of the Decent Work Technical Support Team for East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Graeme Buckley, said the program will seek to bring about an equitable recovery in the region.

“We have seen the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbate existing inequalities in Asia as well as globally. With the new Rebuilding Better project, the ILO, in partnership with JPMorgan, will contribute to a more equitable, gender-responsive and inclusive recovery in Southeast Asia,” he said in a statement Tuesday.

JPMorgan CEO for South and Southeast Asia Murli Maiya added: “The pandemic has dramatically changed business models and we want to help women entrepreneurs pivot towards sustainable business operations with a focus on innovation and digitalization. An economy that is fair is good for the communities we serve, our employees and our business; this conviction is reflected in how JPMorgan does business every day.” — Gillian M. Cortez