Covid-19 Impact Assessment on Micro and Small-scale Women Business Enterprises in Mongolia
The Asia Foundation Mongolia’s Women’s Economic Empowerment project and the Independent Research Institute of Mongolia conducted the Covid-19 Impact Assessment on Micro and Small-scale Women Business Enterprises in Mongolia between October 2020 and July 2021 with support from the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada. This study is critical because there is almost no data on women-owned businesses and specifically women-owned informal businesses in Mongolia, as there is no legal definition of a women-owned enterprise or an informal enterprise. In addition, there is very little evidence available on the experiences of informal business owners during Covid-19 or the specific gender aspects of this experience. This assessment gathered gender-disaggregated data to understand the overall situation for women-owned small, micro, and informal businesses in Mongolia and how women entrepreneurs were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, including those operating in the informal sector. Overall, women-owned businesses were negatively affected due to disruptions in supply chains, reduced sales and production, which in some cases led to closures (temporary or permanent) and layoffs. Also, government support to businesses did not reach informal business owners with the flexible support they need. Women reported a lack of access to financial resources as a pre-pandemic challenge and the main challenge to expansion and formalization, with barriers around collateral and other requirements. The findings identify tools and priority areas to appropriately respond to the negative impacts caused by the pandemic and the implications for women entrepreneurs in Mongolia.