Financial Institution Empowers Women-Led Businesses

Financial Institution Empowers Women-Led Businesses

By Irene Gaitirira
Published October 3, 2022

Financial Institution Empowers Women-Led BusinessesEcobank has launched a programme called Ellevate to support women-led and women focused businesses in Kenya.

Though women own about one-third of all registered Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), they lack access to high quality, demand-driven financial services; it is estimated that women-owned SMEs face a US$42 billion financing gap.

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Financial Institution Empowers Women-Led Businesses“The growth of women-led and women-focused businesses has been long hampered by range of impediments, including access to finance. We have specially designed Ellevate to meet the needs of women entrepreneurs through the provision of comprehensive, customised and tailor-made solutions which include favourable lending rates, smart cash management  and a suite of value-added services such as leadership training, mentoring and networking opportunities. Ecobank Commercial Bank is allocating a minimum of 10% of its loan portfolio to women’s businesses,” says Cheikh Travaly, Ecobank Kenya’s Managing Director. “Women-led businesses are a largely under-served market and Ecobank Kenya is determined to help them reach their potential, grasp business opportunities and become both scalable and sustainable. This will enable them to play a major role in Africa’s social and economic development, in addition to creating thousands of the jobs needed by this and future generations of Kenyans.”

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Financial Institution Empowers Women-Led BusinessesSince the launch of Ellevate in 2020, Ecobank Kenya says it has so far extended US$208 million in loans and attracted US$337.7 million in deposits. On average, this financial support has created an average of between 90 000 to 150 000 jobs across Africa largely in education, agribusiness, hospitality, retail and distributorship sectors.