The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has said it is increasing financing for its popular Women in Business program with a new $55 million loan to QNB Finansbank, a Turkish commercial bank, which will on-lend the funds to businesses either owned or run by women.
To help QNB Finansbank expand its banking services to female entrepreneurs, the EBRD and donors—the government of Turkey, and the European Union
(EU)—will also provide first-loss risk cover, a feature designed to make loans less risky and therefore more affordable, worth up to 4.4 million euros, according to an EBRD statement, which was released on Aug. 11.
Women-led firms can also receive business advice from local and international experts under the program, as well as access to training, mentoring, networking and other services to help them develop and improve their competitiveness, according to the statement.
“The five-year loan is the second EBRD cooperation with QNB Finansbank aimed at businesswomen. It brings the total EBRD financing for the Women in Business program in Turkey to 300 million euros. Across the 17 countries where the program is active, the bank has committed over $400 million,” it said.
The Women in Business program seeks to equalize the chances of success for female entrepreneurs.
Since the launch of the framework in 2014, nearly 14,000 women-led businesses in Turkey have received loans worth a total of 650 million Turkish Liras (190 million euro equivalent) through five partner banks, over 40 percent of which are based outside the main commercial regions of Istanbul, Ankara
and Izmir, read the statement.
In addition, almost 4,000 female entrepreneurs and managers have benefited from non-financial services to develop their businesses, including advisory support from qualified local consultants and international experts and participation in seminars, training workshops, networking activities and mentoring services, it added.
These projects have been supported by a total of 38 million euros in grant financing from the government of Turkey and from the EU.
“We are delighted to have extended the planned 300 million euro to our partner banks in Turkey. This highly successful program is a wonderful example of how international institutions and local authorities can join forces to deliver impact. As we see continuous demand for financing and advisory services from women-led businesses, we will spare no effort to ensure that the program continues,” said Jean-Patrick Marquet, the EBRD Managing Director for Turkey.
“Under the EBRD’s Women in Business program we have supported 6,170 female entrepreneurs since 2015, with our loan commitments amounting to 246 million liras. We will continue to support them with a wide array of solutions that best suit their needs for finance, consultancy, and cash management. This new facility from the EBRD will further enhance our abilities in this regard,” said Temel Güzeloğlu, the CEO of QNB Finansbank.