- Standard Chartered Kenya has partnered with business accelerator Somo to launch a program that would allow women to access loans ranging between KSh250,000 and KSh2 million at an interest rate of 5%
- Disadvantaged women in Kenya have a chance of accessing small-ticket loans to support their businesses
- The loans, which are designed to help the women restore and revitalise their businesses, will be payable over a period of up to 3 years
Disadvantaged women in Kenya have a chance of accessing small-ticket loans to support their businesses under a plan by Standard Chartered Kenya in partnership with business accelerator Somo.
Women in business will be able to access loans ranging from KSh250,000 to KSh2 million, at an interest rate of 5 percent. The loans, which are designed to help the women restore and revitalise their businesses, will be payable over a period of up to three years.
StanChart said the three-year programme, worth KSh60 million is part of the Futuremakers Entrepreneurship Programme, a global initiative to end poverty and is funded by the lender as it moves to empower the next generation of traders to learn, earn and grow.
The aim of the programme is to enhance entrepreneurship skills, empower the beneficiaries to grow their businesses in competitive sectors and support access to formal financing opportunities, StanChart said. The beneficiaries will also receive mentorship, financial and business training to ensure long-term support for their businesses and facilitate sustainable development.
To access the loans, struggling businesses owned by disadvantaged women will be given loans after an evaluation of their business models, immediate needs and growth plans.
Standard Chartered Kenya Head of Corporate Affairs, Brand and Marketing Kenya and East Africa, Joyce Kibe said that the bank aims to transform society through their Futuremakers programmes that include their GOAL project, Youth Employability programmes, and Entrepreneurship programmes such as Women in Tech.
“We are committed to supporting the youth and women by creating opportunities to support them when they embark on entrepreneurship,” Kibe said.
The bank’s Head of Financial Markets, Kenya Nandhra Tanveer said that through the project, the bank will empower women to rebuild their businesses and improve the business environment which will have a positive impact on the wider society.
A study conducted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) found that women-owned businesses are contributing significantly to the Kenyan economy. Their businesses account for about one-half (48 percent) of all micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), which contribute around 20 percent to Kenya’s GDP.
IMF noted that despite their potential, women-owned businesses in Kenya are less likely to grow, are smaller, and are twice as likely to be operating from home as male-owned businesses.
“Women-owned MSMEs report earning only 57% of income that male business owners earn. They also have fewer employees,” the fund said.
Kenya’s banking industry has been on an overdrive, unveiling various products to boost the entrepreneurial spirit of women. KCB recently set aside KSh250 billion to fund women entrepreneurs in the next five years, cementing the regional lender’s role in catalysing economic growth.
Launched in October last year, KCB’s offering extends funding to women-led and owned Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) across the country.
KCB eased the credit requirements and documentation such as security to support businesses in a transformation, guaranteeing faster loan processing. Additionally, women entrepreneurs will get non-financial support extended by partner organisations.
Under the KSh50 billion a year platform, Female-Led and Made Enterprises- FLME, KCB Bank seeks to support entrepreneurship, job creation, and strengthen its outreach towards unique market segments like businesses owned or run by women.
KCB Group CEO Paul Russo said that the bank believes that the MSME sector bears the biggest influence on the economic trajectory of East Africa.
“We consider this sub-sector as a promising development frontier. We are reimagining the way we engage with women entrepreneurs to enable them better overcome business challenges by providing working capital and other critical non-financial needs to sustain their growth,” Russo said.