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The World Bank has put its money where women-led businesses are – and a year into the investment, it says it’s seeing promising growth.

Priya Basu, head of the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, touted the strength of the program in the latest episode of the Women Rule podcast.

“It’s been very challenging in some ways to work with so many stakeholders,” Basu said of We-Fi, the World Bank “start-up” that provides loans, mentorship and other services to women-owned businesses in developing countries. But, she noted, “a very welcome surprise has been that there’s so much commitment around everyone to sort of make this a success.”

According to Basu, We-Fi has already overshot its lifetime goal, which aimed to get a billion dollars in to the hands of women-led businesses by the year 2022.

“For the $120 million that we allocated” this year, she said, “we were able to mobilize an additional $1.6 billion,” with those extra funds coming from the private sector and other sources.

In April, We-Fi announced its first funding allocations for projects around the world, including initiatives to improve the business environment for women in some of the poorest conflict-affected regions in Sri Lanka and to grow already-successful projects promoting women-led businesses in Yemen, Mali and Nigeria.

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