Center for Women’s Economic Empowerment

Democratizing Opportunity for Women


Women entrepreneurs worldwide face barriers to business, including laws or policies that restrict their ability to own property, secure loans, and take goods to market. CIPE believes that equal participation by women in the economy strengthens both free markets and democracy. CIPE’s proven strategy to foster economic empowerment involves partnerships among civil society, the private sector, and government.

Fostering Ecosystems for Entrepeneurship

Click through for examples of each body of work.

Women's Business Agendas

WBAs are vital advocacy tools for mobilizing the business community and civil society stakeholders. The process includes consensus building, setting legislative priorities, and communicating recommendations to policy makers via public-private dialogue. CIPE has helped launch successful models in many countries, including Bangladesh, Nigeria, Jordan, Pakistan, and Nicaragua.


Women's Business Resource Centers

Lack of business skills and training are among the many challenges for women and girls in developing economies. Through a Women’s Business Resource Center, CIPE and partners provide a safe place where women of all backgrounds can obtain educational opportunities with local universities and train with established entrepreneurs. The pilot program in Papua New Guinea, where domestic violence is high, offers security and free childcare. It is a model for business education and leadership initiatives around the globe.


Women in Business Networking

CIPE helps build capacity within both informal and established networks, through the support of women’s chambers of commerce and business associations. CIPE’s training programs have been duplicated in numerous countries, including several nations in Southeast Asia. CIPE and partners provide technical assistance and small grants support, as well as the opportunity for participants to exchange information and best practices, establish mentorship links between weaker and stronger organizations, and build relationships among female business owners and leaders.


Global Impact and Reach

With initiatives and partnerships across the globe, CIPE’s Center for Women’s Economic Empowerment works on a variety of projects to increase women’s access to entrepreneurship opportunities, and ensure the sustainability of their projects. CIPE’s network spans more than 70 countries.


As a result of Women’s Business Agenda programs, commercial bank loans to female entrepreneurs increased dramatically. Nearly 10,000 small and medium-sized enterprises owned by women have received loans totaling more than $93 million. Over 65% of the country’s banks have desks dedicated to female borrowers.

Sri Lanka

The country’s Central Bank directed commercial banks to allocate 5% of loan portfolios for women-owned small and medium-sized enterprises. With CIPE assistance, organizations partnered with a leading national bank to train female entrepreneurs on protocols to acquire credit and loan services from the formal banking sector.


The Ministry of Industry established the landmark Women’s Entrepreneurship Development Fund at the urging of the South Asia Regional Network of Women’s Business Organizations. The Fund guarantees low-interest or collateral-free loans, enabling hundreds of women to start or sustain operations, scale up, and increase profitability.

Honduras and El Salvador

CIPE is a leading partner in the Women and Girls Empowered (WAGE) program just recently launched with partners that include the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative.

Meet our Director

With over 20 years of experience working on projects for women in the Middle East and North Africa region, Barbara Langley leads CIPE’s Center for Women’s Economic Empowerment.

Read Barbara Langley’s full bio. 

CIPEWomen Twitter feed