Checking in: What’s New with Alliance Members, August 2019

Every month, the Financial Alliance for Women publishes a roundup of the latest updates on members’ Women’s Market programs. Take a look at what’s new below:


Banistmo, a subsidiary of the BanColombia group, with the support of BID Invest launched a US$50 million social gender bond aimed exclusively at expanding access to financing for women-led SMEs. In addition, the bond has a second-party opinion from Vigeo Eiris, a company specializing in evaluating this type of project. Vigeo Eiris accredits compliance with the international social bond standards established in The Social Bond Principles of the International Capital Market Association (ICMA). The resources will promote entrepreneurship and women’s economic empowerment in the country, and contribute to 4 SDGs: Gender equality (SDG 5), Decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), Industry, innovation and infrastructure (SDG 9) and Reduced inequalities (SDG 10).

BAC El Salvador

BAC Credomatic in El Salvador is working to increase its non-financial offering by leveraging its Entrepreneurship Center and partnering with non-profits, business schools, and government agencies. Earlier in 2019, the bank launched an event focused on building digital skills of women entrepreneurs and will continue to organize practical business development and capacity building trainings, building on the success of its Mujer Acelera program. The program, launched in 2017, targets women-owned businesses across El Salvador and is based on four pillars: capacity building, which includes a variety of skill-building trainings with topics such as leadership, strategy, finance, talent management, and marketing; advisor support, provided through advisor training that ensures personalized attention to women and understanding of their business needs as well as streamlining processes; empowerment and leadership, supporting women to expand their business by integrating them into networks; and financing. Mujer Acelera provides a number of accounts including savings, credit, and payments that are specifically tailored to women entrepreneurs needs.  The bank has already conducted gender-focused training across its employees, and is now looking to take the program to the next level by expanding its non-financial offerings.   Since its launch, the program has provided more than $13 million in loans to women-owned businesses, and organized 35 events for 807 participants. 

Stanbic Bank Kenya

In an effort to reduce the financial inclusion gender gap in Kenya, Stanbic Bank recently launched a banking solution for women that will provide essential financial and non-financial services that Kenyan women need. Called DADA, which stands for Dare to Aspire Dare to Achieve, the program is tailored to help women in business develop financially and in turn secure their families’ futures, impact communities and grow the economy.

DADA was developed as a result of a partnership between Stanbic Bank Kenya and the International Finance Corporation. As part of the program, Stanbic Bank Kenya has set aside KES 1 billion (over US$9.6 million) specifically to lend to women-run businesses, alongside an additional KES 20 billion (over US$193 million) to lend to SMEs in Kenya between now and 2020.

DADA will specifically address women’s need to save, borrow, invest and protect their businesses’ and families’ futures. Through the program women will have access to education, information, networking and wellness forums. For more information visit

BLC Bank

Lebanon’s BLC Bank recently completed the first session of the Women in Business Program, a new non-financial solution from the bank and its We Initiative Women’s Market program that for the first time specifically targets women in the informal sector with businesses less than 5 years old. The program aims to support women who have their own businesses and are looking to expand, women working from home who have a talent they want to turn into a formal business, and women who have a business idea but need to know how to turn this idea into a business.

The program has been designed to be able to be delivered across all regions of the country, designed to cover the needs of both rural and urban entrepreneurs. Women are recruited via NGO partners working on women’s economic empowerment, with up to 30 selected per program based on business stage and needs. The first Women in Business program was conducted in Kahale in June and July of 2019, with experts from both BLC Bank and the business ecosystem providing instruction on various topics, including developing a business plan, registering and protecting your business, marketing, accounting and financials, and bank partnerships.


In a partnership with Babson College and FMO, Bangladesh’s BRAC Bank has organized a first-of-its-kind training program seeking to boost Bangladeshi women’s entrepreneurial, managerial and business skills. Thirty-five women entrepreneurs were trained alongside 22 bank employees during the Women Business Owners workshop earlier this month, which was spread across two weeks from July 1 to 9. The training was delivered by professors from Babson College specializing in finance and business.

Part of BRAC Bank’s TARA initiative, the training is intended not only to boost women’s business know-how, but also to enhance customer loyalty and establish TARA as a best practice women’s banking proposition. The bank intends to continue its local and international partnerships to organize more capacity building programs for its customers.