AUSTRALIA’S Macquarie Group Foundation is investing P43 million for women-led small and medium enterprises in the Philippines as a recovery tool amid the health crisis.

Launched in a media event on Tuesday, the effort is part of the Australian government’s “Investing in Women” initiative.

This project, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven J. Robinson said, would create 200 or more jobs in the country over the next 18 months.

“By putting money into this—because women’s businesses are generally so productive, we hope to see something like a 5 to 15% return on the investment that is being made that enables further ongoing investments, so it’s self-feeding,” he said.

The public-private partnership is working with two local investing partners: the Foundation for a Sustainable Society Incorporated (FSSI) and InBestCap Ventures (InBest).

The investing partners will customize their support according to the growth plans of each business, which may come in the form of loans, equity, and technical support.

The Australian government’s investing in women initiative focuses on economic growth through women’s empowerment in Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Myanmar. They work on workplace gender equality, investment for women’s small and medium enterprises, and influencing attitudes towards women at work.

Macquarie Group Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Macquarie Group, a multinational independent investment bank and financial services company. — Jenina P. Ibañez