Access to finance for SMEs in least developed countries: Focus on technology-based firms and women-led SMEs

Access to finance by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is a key determinant of their ability to drive innovation and structural transformation for socio-economic development. Governments have supported numerous initiatives to develop and grow the SME sector, and research on those programs has played an important role in understanding their impact and in influencing their design.

This research project will investigate initiatives that promote SME development in least developed countries (LDCs), where the benefits of SME development and growth are greatly needed. The research seeks to highlight two aspects of SME development and growth programs: the sectoral composition of SME support, with a particular interest in the technology sector; and the gendered distribution of support, with an interest in understanding how inclusive policy instruments are for women. The results of this study will illustrate the state of practice and research on SME support programs and the role of women-led technology-driven SMEs where data exists.

Project ID


Project status



10 months

IDRC Officer

David O'Brien

Total funding

CA$ 100,000


Bangladesh, Cambodia, Mozambique, Senegal


Foundations for Innovation

Project Leader

Halla Thorsteinsdóttir


Small Globe

Institution Country


Institution Website