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Friday, March 4, 2022

Australian Government and Macquarie invest in Women SMEs in the Philippines

The Australian Government in partnership with the Macquarie Group Foundation, through the Investing in Women RISE Fund, supported 13 women-led small and medium-sized enterprises, sustaining over 1,000 jobs during the pandemic.


Economic disruptions caused by COVID-19 have disproportionately affected women. In April 2020, the Philippines registered a 17.7 per cent unemployment rate, with women being overrepresented in job losses. To address this, Investing in Women – an initiative of the Australian Government – and the Macquarie Group Foundation launched the Macquarie-Investing in Women RISE Fund (the Fund) to support women’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) adapt and respond to emerging business opportunities during the pandemic.


The Fund has enabled local partners: the Foundation for a Sustainable Society Incorporated and InBest Ventures provide investments to 13 women’s SMEs, across rural and urban markets in the Philippines, including agriculture, tech, and infrastructure. This helped sustained over 1,068 full-time, quality jobs and continues to expand new economic opportunities through business growth.


Australian Ambassador Steven J. Robinson AO and Mr. Eric Yaptangco, Division Director, Manila Technology and Office Head, Macquarie Group met with the initiative’s local partners and the women entrepreneurs to celebrate the achievements of the Fund.


“This Women’s Month, I pay tribute to women entrepreneurs who continue to drive the country’s economic recovery. Australia is committed to supporting women entrepreneurs and contributing to the resilience of local communities. The Macquarie-Investing in Women RISE Fund has highlighted the central role that women play in economic recovery from COVID-19,” explained Ambassador Robinson AO.


“The Macquarie-Investing in Women RISE Fund has been integral to our efforts to provide relief to COVID-19 affected communities in the Philippines. The Fund has expanded access to much needed capital for women’s SMEs, who contribute to a more resilient, inclusive, and broad-based economy. Working through impact investors, our support has helped businesses to restart economic activity in hard-hit areas of the Philippines,” said Susan Clear, Macquarie Group Foundation.


As part of its countless aid efforts for the Philippines, the Australian Government, in partnership with the Macquarie Group, spearheaded an event for the Macquarie Group Investing in Women RISE Fund last March 1 at the Manila Peninsula.


In attendance are (from left) David King Pangan, Co-founder of InBest Ventures; Dr. Julia Newton-Howes, CEO of Investing in Women; His Excellency Steven Robinson, Ambassador of Australia to the Philippines; Susan Clear, Director of the Macquarie Group Foundation Asia; Eric Yaptangco, Macquarie Group’s Division

Director of the Manila Technology and Office Head; and Christie Rowena Plantilla, Board of Trustee and Treasurer for the Foundation for a Sustainable Society Inc.


The Macquarie Investing in Women RISE Fund is just one of the many pandemic aid projects extended by the Australian Government. Just last year, the Australian Government increased its pandemic aid by Php 433 million, which adds to a total of Php 1.8 billion aid released by Australia to the Philippines. 



From left: Carmina Bayombong, CEO and Co-founder of, a consumer lending fintech enterprise; Virginia Andrada, Chief Products Creator and Owner of JustGoLowCarb Bakery and Product Shop; Elreca Fe Pacamalan-Varga, Acting Manager of People Sustainable Consumer Cooperative (PSCC); and Maria Teresa A. Geniston, General Manager of Fatima Multi-Purpose Cooperative (FMPS) share their insights on the journey of these women enterprises in a panel discussion moderated by Eric Yaptangco, Division Director, Manila Technology and Office Head



  1. That's great news🥰thank you for sharing this💖

  2. Yay thank you for sharing po very informative anyway that good news po sa sobrang hirap ng buhay ngayon malaking bagay na yung meron ng invest galing sa other country

  3. Wow this is great news , tlga nmn very helpful ito lalo na sa panahon ngayon ❤️

  4. Such a great news!Thank you for sharing!

  5. Wow that's so nice thanks for sharing this very informative


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