WE Rise

Accelerating Women Entrepreneurs

A program to power ambitious women entrepreneurs to scale their businesses and raise growth capital

WE Rise is an accelerator designed specially to help women entrepreneurs unlock capital to take their businesses to the next level. The program dives into helping women-led businesses build resilience and readjust growth plans to address the COVID-19 impact and access appropriate growth capital. We will work tirelessly to break down barriers to financing by giving women leaders the skills, tools and networks they need to scale their business as they choose.

WE Rise is exclusively developed by Villgro Philippines in partnership with Value for Women and is supported by the Advancing Women’s Empowerment Fund (AWEF).  We have also partnered with a leading local financial institution to bring access to working capital for participants.

We help ambitious women entrepreneurs unlock capital

Meet the Cohort

20 amazing women-led enterprises in the Philippines

What’s inside

Resilience Building

Design and Implementation of Growth Plans

Investment Readiness

High Touch Mentorship

Tailored Connections

WE Rise because

  • Women Entrepreneurs are disproportionately affected by the economic repurcussions of COVID-19


  • Women Entrepreneurs will be critical to a post-COVID recovery phase


  • Women Entrepreneurs are left behind due to lack of access to appropriate funding for their businesses


  • Women Entrepreneurs do not fit the ‘scalable, high-growth’ definitions of funders and investors most times


  • Women Entrepreneurs face barriers triggered by unconscious bias as women who are balancing home and business


  • Women Entrepreneurs receive significantly less funding than their male counterparts

WE Rise aims to

  • Showcase scalable and investable women-led businesses in the Philippines


  • Demonstrate that support tailored to women-led businesses can successfully help them grow and raise funding


  • Connect women entrepreneurs to financial products appropriate for their business models


  • Provide tailored one-on-one business mentoring, upskilling through a high-impact curriculum, and technical assistance to become investment ready


  • Develop and deploy a Gender Scorecard to help enterprises measure and improve their inclusivity

Who we are looking for

Women-led enterprises who are:


Based and operating in the Philippines for at least one year


Generating average monthly gross revenue of at least PHP 150,000 (during or prior to COVID-19)


Looking to strengthen and grow their business


Interested in accessing loans or other forms of financing


Committed to creating a responsible and impactful business

What WE Rise offers





₱ 500,000


We provide ambitious women entrepreneurs with access to working capital, mentorship, peer learning and networks necessary to achieving business growth goals.

Over the course of 10 months, Villgro’s team and mentors will work with women entrepreneurs and their teams, side by side, to diagnose risks and opportunities for the business in the context of COVID-19, develop growth plans, and dive into getting the company investment ready. Entrepreneurs will attend three immersive virtual workshops designed to equip them with the knowledge and skills to grow their business. They will receive ongoing one-on-one business mentorship and technical assistance on financial management, processes and compliance. The program has a special focus on investment readiness, specifically helping create financial models and forecasts, refining the investment ask and pitch, and preparing for investor meetings. The entrepreneurs will have access to a community of industry experts, investors, and peers throughout the program.


Villgro assembles a custom group of mentors and experts relevant to each enterprise to deep dive into the model and surface risks and opportunities. The panel along with the team will create an Acceleration Plan with actionable and measurable lean experiments.

Learning Labs

Learning Labs are immersive knowledge workshops facilitated by experts delivered through a high-impact curriculum focused on business resilience, growth planning and financial management. Entrepreneurs will attend 3 Labs virtually, over the course of 10 months along with peers.

Virtual Masterclasses

Monthly online sessions will be hosted by leading experts on key topics to help you upskill as a leader focused on business growth. Topics will range from financial management, impact measurement, applying gender lens, fundraising strategies, digital marketing, etc.

Working Capital Loan

The Villgro team have exclusively developed a flexible, short-term , collateral-free loan with a partner financial institution for WE Rise program participants. At the completion of developing a growth plan and updated financial forecasts, enterprises will become eligible to apply for working capital loans of up to PHP 500,000.

Customized Mentorship

Each participant enterprise will be assigned a business mentor, who is an experienced entrepreneur / intrapreneur / industry expert. Each mentor will support the entrepreneur to implement the growth plans, to discuss and brainstorm solutions to challenges, and work on exercises and activities from the masterclasses and Labs.

Investment Readiness
Technical Assistance

Entrepreneurs will receive technical assistance to prepare the business to raise external capital. Financial experts will work with the team on strengthening compliance, and internal financial systems, developing financial forecasts and models for the business, and set up and monitor key metrics that investors focus on.

Investor  Roadshow and Impact Showcase

In the final phase of the program, Villgro will facilitate meetings and connections with potential investors and/or market partners based on the needs of the business. Entrepreneurs will also have an opportunity to present their businesses and achievements to different stakeholders at the program culmination, the WE Rise Impact Showcase.

Timeline of Activities

Launch of Application

June 16, 2020

Application Deadline

July 16, 2020

Selection Process Begins

July 17, 2020

Declaration of Selected Enterprises

August 10, 2020

Learning Lab | Kickoff

August 24, 2020

Incubation Support Begins

September 1, 2020

Learning Lab 2

November 2020

Applications Open for Working Capital Loans

November 2020

Disbursement of Loans

December 2020

Learning Lab 3

March 2021

Investor Roadshow Begins

April 2021

Impact Showcase

June 2021

What makes WE Rise special

WE Rise is a flagship program designed with a sharp focus on financial challenges faced by Women Entrepreneurs. The program’s focus on access to capital, and the expert guidance on how to build resilience and prepare for investments in a climate of COVID-19 uncertainty, is what makes WE Rise relevant and crucial for small and growing businesses.

WE Rise is an opportunity to ride out the economic storm through intensive upskilling, development of business strategies and protocols unique to pandemic and post-crisis environments, and judicious and guided use of capital that is made available in the program.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the WE Rise program?

WE Rise is a 10-month accelerator program designed to help women entrepreneurs in the Philippines become investment-ready and access financing through hands-on support in developing and growing their businesses.

What is the application process?

Women entrepreneurs who are interested in applying to the program should submit the online application form. The enterprises that will make the shortlist will be informed via email within 4 days after the application deadline to schedule an interview call with the program team. Shortlisted enterprises will be informed via email within 7 days thereafter to schedule an interview with the selection panel. A total of 20 women-led enterprises will be selected to join the program.

Is the program free for participants?

Yes, the program is free for all selected participants.

How do you define business growth? What stage and size should my business be at to be eligible?

Applicants must have monthly revenues of at least PHP 150,000 (USD 3,000) to be eligible for the program. Through the program, we are looking to provide working capital loans of PHP 100,000 to PHP 500,000 – this means that the enterprise should be able to meet the repayment schedule of such a loan.

As this is a program focused on business growth, WE Rise is looking for women entrepreneurs with ambition to grow their businesses and are seeking growth capital from PHP 1,000,000 (USD 20,000) to PHP 10,000,000 (USD 200,000).


How do you determine if a woman-led enterprise is eligible for the program?

WE Rise program team will review online applications of women-led enterprises based on the following eligibility criteria:

  1. Business ownership:
    1. Businesses with 51% or more women-ownership
    2. Founded by a team of at least 50% women
    3. Has two or more women actively serving in a top leadership role (CEO, COO,CTO)
  2. Based and operating in the Philippines
  3. At least 1 year of operations
  4. Average monthly gross revenue of at least PHP 150,000 (during or prior to COVID-19)
    * If you don’t meet this criteria, please reach out to us at werise@villgrophilippines.org
  5. Interested in growing the business and accessing working capital or other forms of financing

What if my enterprise doesn't have an average monthly gross revenue of PHP150,000?

While we are seeking companies with traction and revenues of PHP 150,000, we will consider enterprises that can demonstrate potential for growth even if they fall below the revenue threshold. We highly encourage you to apply. Kindly reach out to us at werise@villgrophilippines.org if you have any clarifications.

Can I access only the loan and not the program?

The loan is a key component of the program; hence, it can only be accessed by program participants.

Do I get a guaranteed loan if I am accepted into the program?

A primary goal of the program is to prepare the participants to become investment-ready and access financing. During the early months of the program, participants will work with the program team to demonstrate that they can manage and repay working capital loans, as well as develop business resilience plans. After a review of the financials to assess whether the participant entrepreneurs are eligible and the business needs short-term financing – access to a specially developed collateral-free loan product will be made accessible through a dedicated financial institution partner. Due process of the partner financial institution will be followed for the loan application, disbursement and repayment. In addition to this, access to follow-on funding options will be made available as the participants go through the program based on need.  

How many ventures will be selected?

We will select 20 enterprises to participate in the WE Rise 2020 program.

What is the time commitment I have to give to the program since I have home and work responsibilities?

Our goal is to design the program to meet the needs and challenges of women-led businesses. To this extent, we will make all efforts to take into account the schedules of participants when finalizing times for the scheduled activities. Majority of the program is customized and each entrepreneur can schedule the support sessions based on their needs.

The program has three elements:

  1. Learning Labs –  there will be 3 Learning Labs throughout the duration of the WE Rise Program, scheduled 3 months apart from each other – in August, November 2020 and March 2021. These are workshops which are common to all entrepreneurs scheduled at specific times – it is planned to take place over one week, with about 3 hours a day.


  1. Monthly Online Masterclasses – these are 90 minute learning sessions on key business topics with experts once a month which you will need to participate in along with your peers.


  1. One-on-one Support – Each enterprise will be assigned a business mentor to work with through the program – we recommend at least one call with your mentor every month, In addition, you will work with finance experts on financial management and systems, creating financial forecasts and compliance checks. We estimate this will be between 1-3 hours a month, based on your business needs.

How will the program support be delivered given the evolving COVID-19 scenario?

The program will be delivered fully virtually beginning August 2020. The Villgro team will be communicating regularly with selected women entrepreneurs throughout the duration of the program. The intensive incubation support will be conducted through a mix of learning labs, interactive webinars, mentoring sessions, and investment readiness and compliance technical assistance. The sessions will be a mix of common group activities and individual team activities and will make use of digital, video, and offline/downloadable content. Based on the situation on the ground, the program may culminate in an in-person gathering in mid-2021.

How are selection decisions made?

The Villgro team will assess the applicants on the following criteria

Feasibility of Business Models
The enterprise must have a defined customer segment and a viable revenue stream. It must have a strong product-market fit and it can be applied efficiently to the target market. There should be strong channels to reach consumers.

Potential of Scale
The product must be relevant to its target market. The business model should be replicable to other markets or geographies.

The enterprise  is able to adapt to economic, environmental, social, political. technological and market changes in its industry. It is able to manage and grow the business through its profits.

The enterprise is creating a relevant improvement to current practices of their industry. It is improving the lives of its customers, employees, partner organizations. The team and board are committed to building an ethical and responsible business.

Capability of the Team to Execute
The entrepreneur and her team is passionate and committed, has the right set of skills and mindset to execute their ideas, and has the ability to inspire confidence among future stakeholders.

Growth Capital Needs
The entrepreneur is motivated to grow the business and would require growth capital to do so. The entrepreneur and her team are interested and open to accessing external funding to meet their growth needs.

Don’t be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered.


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