Empowering Women Entrepreneurs in the Global South


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In developing nations, the stark reality for women reveals entrenched barriers to entrepreneurship that, if surmounted, could unlock a staggering $5-6 trillion global opportunity. Only 17% of women currently helm their own businesses, yet a further 35% harbor the aspiration to do so. Despite this ambition, they grapple with formidable challenges: from restricted access to capital and land, societal norms limiting mobility, to the disproportionate burden of unpaid care work. The cost of inaction is high, with projections indicating it might take centuries to close gaps in legal protection, eradicate child marriage, and achieve gender parity in leadership and political representation.

In this Luminarias webinar and audience Q&A, Impact Entrepreneur’s Laurie Lane-Zucker welcomes Lizz Welch, CEO of iDE, and Jennifer Roglà, PhD, Global Director of Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Learning (MERL) at iDE, to discuss the critical barriers impeding women entrepreneurs and the innovative strategies being employed to dismantle these obstacles. With a keen focus on gender parity, iDE has committed $137 million over five years to poverty alleviation initiatives that are not only about promoting economic growth but also recognize the profound societal impact, considering women reinvest up to 90% of their income into their families.

Throughout the program, attendees will gain insights into:

  • The critical barriers hindering women entrepreneurs in developing countries.
  • iDE’s evidence-based strategies for empowering women and the expected ripple effects on society, to go beyond income.
  • The broader societal implications of investing in women, from diminishing child marriages to fostering gender parity in positions of power and leadership.

Join us as we delve into the transformative work of iDE, through the experiences of Lizz Welch and Jennifer Roglà, and explore how fostering gender parity in entrepreneurship can catalyze comprehensive economic and social advancement. Our guests will also share case studies of iDE’s impactful work across various developing nations.


Lizz Welch

Lizz Welch

Elizabeth Welch is the CEO of iDE, bringing her expertise in gender empowerment, monitoring and evaluation, finance, and economic growth to the helm since 2019. With over a decade at iDE and two and half decades of experience designing solutions for challenging markets in Asia, Africa, Central America, and the Middle East, she holds a master’s degree in public policy and public administration focused on non-profit management and a BA in history and global development studies. Her work has consistently been driven by a passion for developing talent, fostering economic growth, and creating sustainable change.

Jennifer Roglà, PhD

Jennifer Roglà, PhD

Jennifer Roglà, PhD, leads iDE’s global measurement strategy as the Global Director of MERL. Jennifer champions iDE’s efforts to ensure that their rigorous measurement endeavors are inclusive, participatory, and ethical. Her extensive experience nearing two decades spans across work on multiple continents, research and evaluations, organizational strategy and impact measurement, and promoting iDE’s thought leadership. Jennifer holds a Ph.D. in political science and international relations, specializing in research methods and international public policy, and bachelor’s and master’s in psychology and anthropology.


Laurie Lane-Zucker

Laurie Lane-Zucker

Laurie Lane-Zucker is Founder and CEO of Impact Entrepreneur, PBC, an impact economy business that hosts the Impact Entrepreneur Network — a large, global network of “systems-minded” entrepreneurs, investors, and scholars of social and environmental innovation — and editor and publisher of Impact Entrepreneur, a digital magazine covering the emerging Impact Economy. For over 30 years, Laurie has been a “pioneer” (Forbes) and recognized leader in sustainability, social enterprise, and impact investing. Laurie was the founding Executive Director of the international environmental organization, Orion Society, which publishes the celebrated Orion Magazine, as well as the founder of a global sustainability think-tank, the Triad Institute, and Hotfrog, a Founding B Corporation, GIIRS Pioneer Company, and the first company ever to complete an equity transaction on an impact investment exchange. Laurie is the bestselling and multiple award-winning publisher and editor of books and magazines on sustainability and social impact — having worked with such acclaimed authors as Wendell Berry, Barry Lopez, Terry Tempest Williams, and David James Duncan — and the author of numerous articles on entrepreneurship and impact investing. Laurie is contributing author to the recently published academic textbook from World Scientific, Sustainability: Business and Investment Implications (2023).

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