Skip to main content

Wednesday, June 12

9:00am – 10:00am EST

Read our Climate Paper

Description: Women entrepreneurs play a crucial role in addressing climate change and contributing to sustainable solutions. Women climate entrepreneurs need to be engaged as business leaders as they have an important opportunity to both shape and thrive in new green and blue economies. An intentional approach, in particular in male- dominated sectors, will be needed to ensure women-led businesses are at the forefront and leading in these rapidly growing and evolving markets, and advocates for more inclusive just transitions.

Despite this potential, women entrepreneurs continue to face significant challenges in accessing climate finance, encompassing financial resources from various sources—public, private, national, international, bilateral, and multilateral. For example, only 2.4% of climate related ODA in 2018-2019 (USD 778 mil) was dedicated to gender equality as the principal objective​. In the venture capital space, only 6.9% of funding to climate-related startups, went to female founders (based on Crunchbase data). Women entrepreneurs tend to encounter more difficulties than men in accessing finance due to supply-side issues, such as unsuitable financial products and services (incl. collateral requirements) and unconscious bias among lenders and investors, as well as demand-side factors like lower levels of financial literacy. Also, the significance of networks and mentorship in accessing finance cannot be overstated, particularly where women face disadvantages.

Objective: In order to achieve global climate objectives, the leadership potential of women climate entrepreneurs need to be realized. This will require cooperation and coordination between gender-focused and climate-focused entities to support these pioneering women and provide them with the resources and climate finance needed to reach their potential. The objective of this webinar is to bring together stakeholders from funding and implementation to discuss opportunities how to unlock climate financing to support women-led climate businesses and engaging women as climate leaders. The webinar will explore examples of innovative climate financing instruments, discuss approaches to program design, and reflect on what works.

9:00 AM: Opening remarks by We-Fi
  • Wendy Teleki, Head of the We-Fi Secretariat
9:05 AM: Comments by USAID, World Bank RENEW MENA, CIF, and IDB
  • Jamille Bigio, Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality & Women’s Empowerment at USAID
  • Elisabeth Maier, Senior Operations Officer at RENEW MENA (World Bank)
  • Nina Kolybashkina, Senior Social Development Specialist at The Climate Investment Funds (CIF)
  • Jimena Serrano, Gender, Diversity and Finance Lead at IDB Invest
9:35 AM: Panel Discussion / Q&A
10:00 AM: Closing remarks by We-Fi

Jamille Bigio, Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality & Women’s Empowerment at USAID

Jamille Bigio serves as the Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in the Office of the Administrator. Prior to joining USAID, Ms. Bigio served as a senior fellow on Women and Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, where she researched, lectured, and published widely on the relationship between gender equality, national security, and global prosperity. She previously served as the director for human rights and gender on the White House National Security Council (NSC) staff and as the NSC representative on the White House Council on Women and Girls. At the State Department, Ms. Bigio served as senior advisor on national security and on sub-Saharan Africa to the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues and was detailed to the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy and to the U.S. Mission to the African Union. She also worked at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in New York, Ethiopia, and Iraq (based in Jordan), and at the grassroots level for public health nongovernmental organizations. Ms. Bigio is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School and the University of Maryland.

Nina Kolybashkina, Senior Social Development Specialist at The Climate Investment Funds (CIF)

Nina Kolybashkina is Senior Social Development Specialist at the Climate Investment Funds, working on mainstreaming gender and spearheading broader social inclusion agenda through policy and technical assistance, analytical work and capacity-building.  Nina has over 20 years of experience in development, with focus on social inclusion and gender, labor, rural development, water management and resilience. Nina joined the World Bank in 2015, leading policy dialogue in Uzbekistan on eradication of child and forced labor in the cotton sector, in partnership with the ILO, as well as developing gender and citizen engagement activities in agriculture, water and energy sectors. Prior to joining the Bank Nina worked for UNICEF Somalia on local governance services for women and children and UNDP Regional Center for Arab States, on governance and empowerment of youth and women in Egypt, Djibouti, Yemen, Jordan and Palestine.

Elisabeth Maier, Senior Operations Officer, RENEW MENA (World Bank)

Elisabeth Maier is a Senior Operations Officer in the World Bank’s Infrastructure Practice Group advising the Regional Director for Middle East and North Africa region on portfolio issues, providing operational support to project teams and managing the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program financed Energy and Gender Programs in the Middle East and North Africa region. Before joining the Infrastructure Practice Group, Lisa was advising the Practice Managers in the Middle East and North Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean regions. Prior to that, she spent most of her career at the World Bank in the Africa Region, including the country offices of Angola, Kenya and Cote d’ Ivoire. Lisa holds a Masters in Political Science from the Free University of Berlin and a Masters in Rural Development from the University of Sussex, UK.

Jimena Serrano, Gender, Diversity and Finance Lead at IDB Invest

Jimena Serrano is Lead Advisory Officer in Gender, Diversity and Inclusion in the Advisory Services Division at IDB Invest. In her current role, she works with private sector clients to maximize impact of financial investments by surfacing opportunities that benefit women and other under-represented groups. She has influenced the design of financial incentives in most IDB Invest’s infrastructure investments with blended finance to promote women’s employment in non-traditional sectors.  She also co-led, along with the UN Global Compact and UN Women, the creation of the Women’s Empowerment Principles Gap Analysis Tool, which is used globally to assess inclusiveness of corporate policies and practices. Prior to joining IDB Invest, Jimena was a Senior Analyst in the Economist Intelligence Unit, where she led the design of multiple indices, including the WEVentureScope on female entrepreneurship in Latin America. Jimena holds a degree in Law from Universidad de Los Andes in Colombia and a master’s in international economics from the Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).