EDF Women

EDF-w funds women-owned and women-staffed businesses to increase women’s participation in the private sector and labor market. This ensures that women are supported to meaningfully engage in mainstream economic recovery and development in Iraq by providing on-the-job training opportunities, job referrals, and creating jobs for women specifically. It also increases women’s access to financial capital that would not be available to them otherwise. Supporting women in the labour force goes beyond economic empowerment; it works towards increasing participation of women in decision-making and leadership roles. The two main objectives of EDF-W are to support female-led businesses to expand through facilitated access to capital, and to support the entry into the labour force of female jobseekers who may face cultural, economic and social barriers. The EDF-w further supports start-ups and early-stage female entrepreneurs in partnership with local incubators and training centres.

General Criteria:

  • The Business owner ability to finance minimum 15% of the proposed business startup or expansion plan cost.
  • IOM encourages women-owned businesses in non-stereotypical sectors to apply for this call.
  • Maximum implementation time of business plans to be no longer than 12 months.
  • The business should be owned and managed by an Iraqi. 
  • Requested amount from 5k to 35k.

513 Business funded
2,132 Jobs created
2,202 Existing jobs improved
$7,162,678 Grant
$2,182,941 Contribution

Background and research:

To better understand the needs and vulnerabilities of female business owners and female jobseekers, in 2021 IOM undertook a feasibility study which determined that women need additional support to grow their businesses. Restrictions to women’s freedom of movement and decision-making in business investments highlighted factors that restrict businesses from reaching their full potential.

In 2022, IOM expanded on the feasibility study through an assessment and report on supporting female entrepreneurs in Iraq. The findings of the assessment were developed into recommendations that guided the application process, selection criteria, and support mechanisms of EDF-W.

Read the full report available in the publication section below:

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Publications View All


Livelihoods Assessments -


EDF Adaptation Assessments -

Perceptions on Women's Economic Opportunities in Urban Areas...

EDF Overviews -

EDF Women Overview (EDF-w)

EDF Adaptation Assessments -

Funding Women’s Participation in the Labour Force
policy 1

Policy briefs -

Livelihoods Policy Brief NO.4

EDF Adaptation Assessments -

Supporting Female Entrepreneurs in Iraq

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