(Bloomberg) -- Gender parity among entrepreneurs would boost the global economy by at least 2% and create hundreds of millions of jobs worldwide, according to a report by Citigroup Inc.

Promoting the growth of women-owned businesses can play an important role in the pandemic recovery, especially in emerging economies where female entrepreneurs were disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 crisis, according to the report, released Monday.

The benefits from having more enterprises created by women would also spill out into local communities.

The report, called “Women Entrepreneurs,” found that closing the gender gap in business creation would:

  • Add $1.6 trillion to $2.3 trillion to the global gross domestic product, an increase of about 2% to 3%.
  • Create 288 million to 433 million jobs worldwide.

Lack of access to financing is among the biggest obstacles women face when they want to create a company. In 2019, just 2.8% of global venture capital funding went to women-led businesses -- and that was an all-time high, according to the report, which cited Crunchbase data.

Yet for every $1 of investment raised, women-owned startups generated 78 cents in revenue, compared with 31 cents from men-owned firms, according to a 2018 Boston Consulting Group analysis.

Another challenge for female entrepreneurs is that they tend to be concentrated in low-margin sectors like retail and hospitality rather than high-growth industries such as technology and business services, according to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor.

The challenges are different for entrepreneurs in lower-income economies, where both genders tend to be locked out of the tech sector. 

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