06 June 2018 - 09:00 - 10:15

This event takes place as part of the European Development Days and will begin at 9:30 in Room D4 at Tours and Taxis (Avenue du Port 86C, 1000 Brussels). 

This lab debate will explore the important contribution that women entrepreneurs are making as regards implementation of many of the sustainable goals set out in Agenda 2030 and the challenges and opportunities they face in developing and emerging countries. The focus will be on ways in which governments and the private sector can help to address these challenges and ways in which women business leaders can be further empowered by state and non-state initiatives.

This event is held as part of the Development Policy Forum (DPF) led by Friends of Europe. The DPF brings together a number of crucial development actors. This includes the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the United Nations, the World Bank and Coca-Cola to contribute to the global and European conversation on development.

IMAGE CREDIT: ILO/A. Azhari/Flickr


Welcome & registration


Women spearheading implementation of Agenda 2030

The crucial need to create new jobs in the developing world has spotlighted the role of home-grown women business leaders, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and local female entrepreneurs as key development actors. Across the developing world, women entrepreneurs are playing the crucial role of innovators of cutting-edge products and services, enabling a leap forward in such fields such as retail, food services, information technology, and by developing new products and processes as regards in agriculture, healthcare and other vital fields. While women entrepreneurs create new businesses, disrupt established industries and develop innovative platforms at a record pace, they still face institutional barriers to starting and growing a business that makes financial parity with male entrepreneurs a long-term challenge.

  • When it comes down to access to capital, trainings and support, challenges for women are multiplied. What can the EU do to help foster a more attractive business environment for female entrepreneurs in developing countries?
  • How can the EU and developing countries encourage women to enter more into male-dominated sectors? 
  • What are governments doing to support women entrepreneurs and how can public-private partnerships enable women to achieve their potential and make a lasting difference in their country’s economy?
  • Beyond legal and financial barriers, women also face social and cultural obstacles that limit their access to education and work. What can successful female entrepreneurs do to encourage the behavioural change needed and increase business opportunities for younger and older women?

Moderated by
Shada Islam, Director for Europe and Geopolitics at Friends of Europe 


Development Policy Forum:






World Bank








Coca Cola




Sarah Bentz, Programme Manager
Tel.: +32 2 893 98 23
Email: sarah.bentz@friendsofeurope.org

Registration will open soon and will be done through the European Development Days Website.
For more information, please contact Sarah Bentz, Programme Manager at Friends of Europe.

Our events include photos, audio and video recording that we might use for promotional purposes. By registering, you give your permission to use your image. Should you have any questions, please contact our Head of Communications, Angela Pauly, at angela.pauly@friendsofeurope.org.
Contact form
Do you have any questions about this event? Please contact us using the form below.