300-million euro program aims to attract more Turkish women to business life
ANKARA – Anadolu AgencyThe Finance and Advice for Women in Business Program, funded by the European Union, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Republic of Turkey, was introduced to local women-led businesses in the Central Anatolian city of Kayseri on May 28.
“If the Turkish economy is to achieve its full potential, then bringing more women into the labor force is essential,” European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Turkey Director Jean-Patrick Marquet told Anadolu Agency on the sidelines of the event.
The EBRD provides up to 300 million euros ($327 million) in credit lines to local banks for lending to women-led businesses. The EU, the Turkish Ministry of Labor and Social Security and the Turkish Employment Agency are supporting the program with 38 million euros ($41.6 million) for credit enhancement, advice to companies including mentoring, entrepreneurship training and networking opportunities, as well as technical assistance for partner banks.
To date, four Turkish banks have joined the program and received financing from the EBRD: Vakıf Bank ($30 million), Finansbank ($54.7 million), İş Bankası ($55 million), and Türk Ekonomi Bankası ($54.7 million).
“The program takes a very holistic approach. It includes a combination of credit lines, finance investment, risk cover for local banks to increase risk appetite, and very important, technical assistance and advice for both the banks and the women in business themselves;” said Marquet.
“It is an important program for Turkey, because women’s participation in the labor force is low, very low - below 30 percent, less than half of male participation in the labor force. This is a drag on the Turkish economy. If the Turkish economy is to achieve its full growth potential, then bringing more women into the labor force is essential. These women will start creating new businesses and attracting investment,” he added.