Women-led businesses have yielded notable financial benefits to the national economy and have helped grow households’ incomes.
As women in business continue to dominate Kenya’s business space, Absa Bank Kenya has been at the forefront of empowering women entrepreneurs through coaching, training, access to markets, and access to credit.
Through the SHE Stars Program, Absa Bank Kenya has graduated its first cohort of more than 200 women entrepreneurs who went through blended finance and business development services capacity building aimed at increasing the growth and competitiveness of women-owned MSMEs.
Absa Bank’s Business Banking Director Elizabeth Wasunna reiterated the bank’s commitment to empowering women entrepreneurs with the necessary financial and non-financial resources enabling them to sustainably grow their businesses and compete effectively in the business world.
“Today, women-led businesses have to yield notable financial benefits to the national economy and have helped grow households’ incomes. However, they are still faced with many real and perceptual hurdles that have tipped the scales against them and hindered them from succeeding.
It is through the SHE Star program that we are taking steps to address these historic challenges that face women entrepreneurs.” said Ms. Wasunna.
The Absa SHE Star Program, launched last year, is an ongoing collaboration between Absa with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) Employment and Skills for Development in Africa (E4D) Program that is supported by Yunus Environment Hub (YEH). Its aim is to fast-track the economic recovery of 1,500 women-owned Micro, Small and Medium Businesses adversely affected by the Covid-19 economic situation.
“We are currently running a third and fourth cohort to support more women in business and empower them to successfully run their enterprises and bring fruitful impact to communities across the country. As Absa, we congratulate our graduates from the first and second cohorts and urge them to serve as a beacon of hope to other entrepreneurs looking to break the ceiling,” added Ms. Wasunna.
The SHE Star graduates were enrolled in a 12-week Technical Business Management Programme facilitated by Yunus Environment Hub under the Absa SHE Business Academy. Graduates were taken through courses on cash flow analysis, risk management, income diversification, branding, fundraising, leadership, and people management.
The initiative is in line with Absa’s women’s agenda and commitment to empowering over 1 million women entrepreneurs across the country with the necessary financial and non-financial support to enable them to scale up and take their businesses to the next level over the next five years.
Last year, Absa Bank launched its SHE Business proposition to help women-owned businesses access funds through existing Absa banking products such as unsecured and secured loans, trade finance, asset finance, property finance, and working capital facilities. Since its inception, more than 20,000 active women customers have benefitted.