Women entrepreneurs are changing the face of the global economy, helping to sustain job creation and economic growth. It is estimated that women-owned entities represent over 30 percent of registered businesses worldwide. Unfortunately, on average, only 5 to 10 percent of women-owned entities have access to commercial bank loans.
Barriers that impede women entrepreneurs from accessing finance include unfavorable business and regulatory environments as well as a need to strengthen management and business skills. Another obstacle is the lack of tailored products and services being offered by local banks to women business owners.
IFC’s Banking on Women Program is playing a catalyzing role working with partners and financial institutions worldwide to profitably and sustainably serve businesses owned and run by women. Through leveraging the branch network and SME services of relationship financial institutions, IFC is working with local financial institutions to enhance offerings that increase access to finance for women entrepreneurs.
IFC's Investment Services and Products include:
Risk-sharing facilities with banking and non-banking partners
Supply chain finance and distributor finance
IFC Advisory Services:
IFC also offers advisory services to financial institutions to deepen their ability to reach women-owned businesses through: strategic planning, market positioning/segmentation, product repositioning and staff training.
IFC reaches out to women entrepreneurs with customized training in business planning and management, financial literacy, and demystifying banks/credit application processes. IFC also facilitates networking and mentoring sessions for market expansion and business growth.
To support a broader universe of women-owned businesses, IFC is working with a more inclusive definition for these businesses to reflect both ownership as well as the number of women in management positions. Having high participation of women in management positions can also influence how businesses operate.
Results to Date:
IFC’s investment services and advisory program jointly invested $63 million between 2006 and 2010 during its development phase. These investments helped Access Bank in Nigeria, Exim Bank in Malawi, NBS Bank in Burundi and east-African regional bank DTB boost lending to women-owned businesses. IFC’s Women in Business advisory program provided technical assistance to banks and their women entrepreneur clients to complement the investments. Since the launch of the Banking on Women program in late 2010, IFC invested a total $50 million in three banks: ABANK in Turkey; Bll in Indonesia and Garanti-Romania in Romania. A robust pipeline of investments is under development.
IFC is also leveraging a key partnership with the Global Banking Alliance (GBA) for Women, an organization of financial institutions where members and partners can benefit from best practices from financial institutions that are leaders in this segment.