Member Webinar Recap: Educational Non-Financial Services and Women’s Businesses

Thursday 5th April 2018

As part of an ongoing partnership to disseminate Women’s Market know-how, the GBA and SME Finance Forum held a webinar this week on the importance of educational non-financial services in empowering women in business to succeed.

75 financial services practitioners registered to attend the April 4 webinar, which discussed the business and financial knowledge gaps disproportionately faced by women business owners/leaders and shared how some banks are finding success by helping to bridge those gaps.

Joanna Romero, SME and Gender Finance Specialist at the International Finance Corporation, introduced the topic, highlighting how IFC has advised its clients to support women’s SMEs with educational programming. Raya Sbitany, Chief Business Development & Financial Inclusion Officer at Bank of Palestine, then shared details of the bank’s Felestineya Women’s Market program, including its innovative Mini MBA Program and the results both the bank and its clients have seen so far. One year after graduating, clients have, on average, doubled revenue and profits, increased staff levels by 28 percent, formally registered their businesses, become fully banked, and greatly improved their management and business skills. Chanda Chime-Katongo, Head of Women’s Banking Proposition and Corporate Affairs at Stanbic Bank Zambia, wrapped up the webinar with an exploration of the bank’s Anakadzi Women’s Market program, which features Finance, Knowledge and Convenience as its three pillars. As part of the Knowledge pillar, the bank offers a business learning program for women entrepreneurs developed in collaboration with professors from Babson College that focuses on critical topics like entrepreneurial growth, tapping into business opportunities, leadership, negotiating and financial planning. In addition to improving their business skills, all of the women who have undergone the training are now strong brand advocates for the Anakadzi program.

The presenters concluded by discussing the strategic benefits of offering non-financial services, including building brand awareness, increasing customer acquisition and retention, and potentially increasing customer product usage. The speakers recognized that while non-financial services can be associated with additional incurred costs for financial institutions, these can be managed by working with strategic partners, leveraging bank-owned facilities and in-house capabilities, and leveraging marketing budgets.

The full webinar replay will be made available to members of the GBA and SME Finance Forum in the coming week.