Letter from Inez: November 2014

Thursday 13th November 2014

GBA Newsletter

Recently I was asked to speak at the Council on Foreign Relations about a study by Babson College that brought home the impact of networks on business growth with startling clarity. The study was a progress report commissioned by the Goldman Sachs Foundation on the first 4 years of their 10,000 Women initiative, a program that supports women small-business owners with access to business education, mentors and networks. The analysts at Babson College drew from 3,000 participants and found that 18 months after graduation, 69 percent of them experienced growth in business revenues — an average of 480 percent.

While these women were selected for their entrepreneurial acumen, the report clearly indicates something about 10,000 Women’s program is working well. While high-quality business education is the bedrock, the secret sauce turns out to be the alumni network and the access to mentors who provide powerful reinforcement to the formal education. Indeed, 90 percent of graduates “pay it forward” by mentoring and teaching skills to an average of eight other women — a multiplier effect that is especially crucial to cost efficiency in supporting entrepreneurs. In another recent study, Boston Consulting Group found a strong correlation between women entrepreneurs knowing other entrepreneurs — “entrepreneurial affiliation” — and business survival.

The points underscored by these studies prompted me to interview networking expert Helen Nicholson, who defines networking as the ability to cultivate mutually beneficial business relationships. Helen ably explains just how fundamental it is to business and career success. Important information not just for us as individuals, but as banks who seek to support professional women as internal and external customers.

The Babson report prompted other questions. While two-thirds of women who applied for business loans got a loan, just one-third applied in the first place. So why don’t women business owners borrow from banks?

This is where GBA’s expertise comes in. I am delighted to announce a new strategic partnership with 10,000 Women in which the Goldman Sachs Foundation will support our efforts to make the business case for banks to offer holistic value to women SME owners. In this issue, Noa Meyer, Managing Director of 10,000 Women, shares her vision for the central role that banks and the GBA will play in the next phase of 10,000 Women. We would like to extend our sincere appreciation to the Goldman Sachs Foundation for their generous sponsorship.

Last but not least, in this issue we profile latest GBA member, Türk Ekonomi Bankası, (TEB Bank), which was named by the IFC in 2012 as a world leader in supporting SMEs with financial and non-financial services. As Devrim Tavil explains, TEB is now seeking the know-how from fellow GBA members on how best to serve women. Given their expertise in supporting SMEs, their membership will undoubtedly add significant value to fellow GBA members.

Two great examples of mutually beneficial business relationships.


Inez Murray, Chief Executive Officer

Global Banking Alliance for Women