Kenya: Bank Launches Loan Product for Businesswomen

More than one million women in business are set benefit from improved access to finance, market and mentorship courtesy of Absa Bank Kenya's new business product for women.

Through the Absa She Business Account, the institution endeavours to loan businesswomen large chunks of money over the next five years alongside capacitating them on breaking even in the market.

The product is built on four key pillars; access to finance, access to market, and access to information as well as access to mentorship and coaching.

Those already borrowing with the bank will enjoy unsecured loans of up to Sh10 million from while the new ones will access Sh7 million.

Both start-ups and accomplished businesses will benefit from the new product according to Absa Kenya managing director Mr Jeremy Awori.

"Absa She Business Account is tailor-made for the needs of the woman entrepreneur, whether you are starting out in business or running a big corporation," he said during the launch of the new product last week.

Register businesses

Absa Business Banking Director Ms Elizabeth Wasunna encouraged businesswomen to formalise their businesses to benefit.

"We need to encourage as many entrepreneurs as possible to register their businesses, formalise their operations and maintain good records of their transactions," she said.

"These are important factors that determine entrepreneurs' ability to attract investment, credit, and other business opportunities."

Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Cabinet Secretary Prof Margaret Kobia who presided over the launch lauded the bank for its efforts in championing women empowerment programmes. She called upon more organisations to facilitate similar forums for the realisation of Sustainable Development Goals of reduced equalities and gender equality.

"My ministry remains committed to continued engagement with the private sector and other strategic partners in building back a stronger economy that puts women, young people, persons with disability and other disadvantaged groups at the heart of the economic recovery strategies for greater investments and growth directed at women," said Prof Kobia.

Kenya's businesswomen can also enjoy a credit boost from African Development Bank.

In January this year, the bank's board of directors approved a five-year strategy laying out a plan on bolstering women's economic growth through a $5 billion credit access.

12-week training

There are also other business facilities tailored for businesswomen such Women in Technology (WiT) program by Standard Chartered Kenya and Strathmore University's business centre @iBizAfrica as well as Women in Manufacturing (WiM) program by Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM).

WiT's successful applicants are put through a 12-week training on various business topics including book keeping, leveraging on technology and branding. Outstanding SMEs are then awarded credit to boost their businesses.

WiM, on the other hand, offers trainings and mentorship for women industrialists in Kenya and links them to bigger markets. It connects budding entrepreneurs with seasoned women industrialists who mentor them. To join WiM, one has to first be a KAM member. The membership subscription is done through KAM website.

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