Women enterprises set to benefit from new funding package from Pan-African financial lender
NAIROBI, Kenya - Ecobank Kenya Limited, a subsidiary of the Pan-African Ecobank Group has launched the Women’s Programme ‘Ellevate,’ which seeks to empower and support women-led enterprises with affordable and cheap funding to enable them to realize their potential.
According to Cheikh Travaly, Managing Director of Ecobank Kenya, “We created Ellevate specifically to meet the needs of female entrepreneurs by offering comprehensive, customised, and tailor-made solutions such as favourable lending rates, intelligent cash management enablement, and a suite of value-added services such as mentoring, leadership training, and networking opportunities. ”
This new funding programme will see Ecobank Commercial Bank will provide at least 10 per cent of its loan portfolio to women-owned enterprises.
Travel added that “Women-led enterprises are a largely untapped market, and Ecobank Kenya is determined to assist them in realising their full potential, seizing economic opportunities, and being both scalable and sustainable.
This would allow them to play a significant role in Africa’s social and economic growth and provide thousands of jobs for current and future generations of Kenyans.”
Speaking at a Nairobi hotel during the official launch of Ellevate Ecobank – Kenya's chief boss opines that it’s time to boost women-led enterprises to create jobs for the youth.
The SMEs account for around 90% of all African firms, and women hold roughly one-third of all licenses on the continent. Indeed, one in every four adult women in Africa (25.9%) starts or manages a business and yet earns only 1% of venture capitalist funding (VCs).
Women-owned SMEs are expected to face a US$42 billion funding gap, making access to financing a significant limitation to business growth. This gap currently costs Sub-Saharan Africa U$95 billion every year.
This programme was first launched two years ago and has seen Ecobank Group financial lender extending US$208 million in loans and receiving US$337.7 million in deposits.
It has also helped in the creation of an average of 90,000 to 150,000 employment across Africa, primarily in education, agribusiness, hospitality, retail, and distribution.