THE Australian government and the Macquarie Group Foundation said they helped channel capital to 13 small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) led by women in the Philippines, creating 1,068 full-time jobs.

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven J. Robinson said in a virtual briefing on Tuesday that the program was financed by the Macquarie-Investing in Women RISE Fund.

“With P68 million of investments from the RISE Fund, our investing partners leveraged P127 million of private-sector investment for these women’s SMEs. This led to a cumulative capital of P195 million deployed for business expansion of SMEs across the Philippines. In turn, these 13 women-led SMEs created 1,068 quality jobs,” Mr. Robinson said.

The RISE fund has allowed local partners of the Australian government, the Foundation for a Sustainable Society, Inc. and InBest Ventures, to provide investment to the SMEs.

“These women entrepreneurs operate in industries that are traditionally male-dominated, such as agriculture, tech and infrastructure, as well as fish and poultry trading. This outstanding performance proves that women’s leadership should become the norm, not an exception, in a post-COVID world,” Mr. Robinson said.

According to Mr. Robinson, five of the SMEs worked with over 13,000 farmers to expand their market access, while another SME used technology to make education more accessible to 881 students in the first half of 2021.

Investing in Women Chief Executive Officer Julia Newton-Howes said the initiative will end in June 2023 and is still expecting to take in more investment this year.

“We will be continuing to work with our investment partners over that period. We were expecting at least another five investments to be made by our partners in 2022,” Ms. Newton-Howes said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave