EBRD Puts Spotlight on Women in Business

Wednesday 18th November 2015

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s (EBRD) Women In Business Programme is gaining serious traction, with an impressive set of banks already either signed up or lined up, and several poised to become GBA members. To build internal buy-in, the bank held a two-day workshop Nov. 9 and 10 to educate its investment officers on the value the program can bring to their bank clients. Alliance Chief Executive Inez Murray spoke about the business case for serving the Women’s Market, sharing the aggregate performance of 14 GBA banks reporting to GBA’s Women’s Market Data Analytics Platform, while Simla Unal, Marketing Director of TEB SME Banking, shared that half the money the bank has earmarked to lend to women SME owners has already been disbursed since their Women’s Market program launch in May of this year.

EBRD_Women in Business_2015The EBRD’s support for banks includes taking a first loss of up to 10 percent of the portfolio lent to women, which encourages bank innovation around collateral requirements that are so often an impediment to women. The EBRD also offers banks technical assistance to support program design and implementation, while their Small Business Support group has designed a comprehensive set of non-financial services that banks can avail themselves of to deliver value to women.

A cornerstone of this non-financial services offer is the Business Lens online platform that enables women SME owners to do a self-assessment of the strength of their business and their own capability to manage it. This tool is intended to create demand for business support services, and banks can integrate it into their own marketing of their Women in Business Programmes.