EBRD, EU and Turkish gov’t supporting 15,000 female entrepreneurs
The EBRD, the Turkish Employment Agency (İŞKUR), the EU Delegation to Turkey and the Ministry of Labor and Social Security discussed the positive impact of the joint Finance and Advice for Women in Business program at an event in Ankara on Nov. 22.
In 2014, the EBRD made a commitment to promote women’s entrepreneurship in Turkey, pledging 300 million euros in dedicated credit lines to local banks for on-lending to companies run by women.
In order to create opportunities for women-led businesses to gain affordable financing from local banks, the EBRD partnered with five key Turkish lenders – Garanti Bank, QNB Finansbank, TEB, İş Bank and Vakıfbank - according to the statement.
Through their extensive branch networks, loans averaging 15,000 euros were provided to 14,400 companies in 79 out of 81 Turkish provinces, the Bank said. Two-thirds of the financing provided to date has been channeled to firms outside the large metropolitan areas of Istanbul, İzmir and Ankara, it added.
EU, gov’t join effort
The EU and the Turkish government have joined the effort, with 38 million euros in grant funding. Donor funds enabled partner banks to make adjustments necessary to better serve the women’s banking market. One of these features is first-loss risk cover, which makes loans less risky and therefore more affordable.
Funds from the EU and the Turkish government have also helped connect 340 women-led firms in 42 Turkish provinces to local consultants and coaches and international advisers who have helped them grow their businesses and enabled training and mentoring opportunities. Advisory services alone have helped create 800 new jobs, with many companies reporting a substantial increase in turnover.
In Turkey, only 30 percent of women participate in the workforce, compared with 70 percent of men. Women running their own businesses find it particularly hard to access affordable financing. With access to finance a key obstacle, women generally tend to borrow from friends and family rather than from a formal financial institution.
Since it was pioneered in Turkey, the Finance and Advice for Women in Business Women program has been rolled out to 16 other countries where the EBRD invests, according to the statement.
Creating opportunities for those who cannot access affordable financing, including female entrepreneurs, refugees, and companies in more remote regions, is a priority for the EBRD in Turkey, the Bank stated.