As part of its partnership with ASEAN, the Norwegian government supports the ASEAN Women Impact Social Entrepreneurship (WISE) Fellowship 2021 run by Angels of Impact. This is a year-long fellowship to support women impact entrepreneurs. The 19 women-led social enterprises within the creative industries in all ten ASEAN countries were selected from among 168 applications. They focus on women and indigenous communities and work at community level with artisans, micro-entrepreneurs, and cooperatives. They aim to tackle the UN sustainable development goals SDG 1 (on poverty), SDG 5 (on gender equality), and SDG 12 (on responsible consumption). This project is also part of Norwegian support to Covid-19 recovery in ASEAN.
In a series of workshops, the 19 entrepreneurs together with leaders, international organisations, and investors shared their personal journeys, experiences and perspectives. At the first workshop on Women in the Creative Economy, Ambassador of Norway to ASEAN, Morten Høglund, and Ambassador of Norway to Singapore, Anita Nergaard, offered Norway’s perspectives on the partnership with ASEAN and on women empowerment.
Ambassador Nergaard emphasised that gender equality is a main priority for Norway and key to inclusive and sustainable economic development. With poverty projected to increase this year for the first time since 1989, women and girls will be further marginalised. At the same time, the rapidly growing creative industries, offer rich opportunities and the needed flexibility for women. In order for businesses to grow, capital is needed.
Norway offers its support in various ways. Norfund is the Norwegian Investment Fund for developing countries. Its mission is to create jobs and to improve lives by investing in businesses that drive sustainable development. Norfund is owned and funded by the Norwegian Government and is the Government´s most important tool for strengthening the private sector in developing countries, and for reducing poverty. Norfund has a particular focus on gender equality and women empowerment.
The ASEAN WISE Fellowship programme, funded by Norway, is endorsed by the ASEAN Committee on Women (ACW) and run by Angels of Impact in partnership with ASEAN Foundation. SAP and Air Asia Foundation are corporate partners to the programme.
Angels of Impact post about the 30 March 2021 event on FB here.