The recently rebranded Absa Bank Kenya has today announced a Ksh 10 billion fund to help women entrepreneurs advance their businesses.
The fund is geared towards helping women who operate Small and Medium enterprises over the next five years. The women fund is part of the bank’s commitment to empowering women with financial resources and capacity building to grow their businesses.
The money will be availed to women entrepreneurs through the existing banking products including unsecured and secured loans, trade finance, asset finance, property finance and working capital facilities.
Absa Bank Kenya’s Managing Director, Jeremy Awori said women form a significant percentage of the SME sector but financial constraint affects their participation in the national economic development.
Awori added that socio-cultural restrictions also hinder women from playing a big part in the national economic development and that’s why Absa wanted to eliminate the financial constraint factor.
“As an organisation, our purpose is to bring possibilities to life, and we do this by connecting peoples’ dreams and aspirations to the financial resources and services they need to accomplish them,” Awori noted, “As such, we are committed to continue actively contributing to the development of women-owned enterprises because they play a significant in driving economic growth and creating jobs.”
According to ITC, women-led SMEs represent 20% of the businesses involved in international trade. Through the SheTrades initiative, ITC is planning to bring more than 3 million women-led businesses to market by 2021.
In Kenya, the SheTradesKE programme aims to empower more than 10,000 women in the SME sector with the skills and resources they need to effectively compete on the global stage. So far, more than 3 500 Kenyan women have benefitted from the programme through mentorship, training and capacity building conducted via Webinar, face to face interactions and workshops.
Mr Awori said that the SheTradesKE programme aligns well with the bank’s overall commitment to continue offering relevant financial solutions to SMEs under the Ansa brand.
Additionally, the bank announced the launch of the No Frills Loan, a new proposition designed to speed up the turn-around-time for processing loans. Under this proposition, the bank committed to processing SME loans of up to Kes 3 million within 48 hours, from application to having the money in your account.