Letter from Inez: March 2024

Thursday 28th March 2024

As 2024 rolls on, the list of countries signing up to the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Code (WE Finance Code) is growing, and Alliance members are front and center, spearheading the momentum. Already the bank of choice for women in their markets, raising their hands to be early adopters of the Code fulfills a destiny of being champions for women’s financial inclusion.

Next week, we’re launching the prestigious We Finance Code Community of Champions, made up of public and private sector Code Anchors from each implementing country. With a learning journey designed to catapult implementation, we look forward to the national and international actions catalyzed to meet the end goal of increasing financing of women owned and led businesses globally.

Moving the dial for female entrepreneurs requires us to focus beyond debt finance to equity, addressing the astonishing fact that female-founders attract less than 3 percent of the global equity finance pool. The most critical levers to pull include building angel networks and getting more women into decision making roles in venture capital. Both are strategies under the UK’s Taskforce on Women-Led High-Growth Enterprises set up under their Investing In Women Code, which we will explore in-depth at the Alliance’s 2024 Summit June 4-5 and the UK Study Tour June 6.

Recognizing the challenge of identifying women owned/led businesses in the portfolio, our next Data Task Force session focuses on disaggregating legacy data both in the business and consumer portfolios. The latter is particularly important as there are many women with businesses who are borrowing as consumers, who need to be tagged and served in a more helpful way.

Another underserved segment of women’s markets are women who need access to shariah compliant finance. Our next Ask The Expert session will explore the main adaptations needed to improve women’s access to Islamic Finance, an important growth segment for several of our members.

It’s been terrific to see the actions our members took to mark this year’s International Women’s Day, as summarized in this month’s round-up. Linking squarely with this year’s theme – Invest in Women – we saw initiatives ranging from earmarking funding for WSMEs, to powerful campaigns to increase the visibility of entrepreneurial women.

Lastly, we remind members to register for the Alliance’s 2024 Summit as spaces are filling up rapidly. This flagship annual event offers our community the opportunity to meet in person and build that all-important human connection so critical to driving innovation and action.

We thank all our members and strategic partners for investing in women and for the many ways they participate in the Alliance.

In community,