Drawing on the experiences of entrepreneurs during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, this study explores the gendered impacts of policy responses designed primarily to provide relief and support for business continuity while the economy was on hold. It explores the themes of their lived experiences and how policy responses catered to their immediate needs as entrepreneurs and assesses how and whether its impacts are gendered while considering the process of policy design, implementation, and monitoring during an emergency. As needs at the onset of the pandemic were universal and under pressure to deliver relief efforts in an emergency, policies did not explicitly bear a gender lens from design to implementation. The effects of the pandemic on businesses were not gendered, although the lived experiences of women entrepreneurs reveal areas where more gendered support is needed. The paper also explores the lack of consensus among players in the entrepreneurial ecosystem on how women entrepreneurship is defined and investigates how this affects the monitoring and evaluation of policy responses for micro, small, and medium enterprises. The paper also looks into tech startups and provides recommendations moving forward.
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