Ecobank unveils programme to empower women

Cheick Travaly MD Ecobank & Regional Executive Central Eastern & Southern Africa. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Ecobank Kenya has launched a programme to empower women-led businesses through financial support.

The bank said during the launch in Nairobi that the ‘Ellevate’ programme is aimed at helping businesses reach their full potential.

"The bank noted that women have not enjoyed equal access to high quality, demand-driven financial services and it is estimated that women-owned SMEs face a $42 billion (Sh5 trillion) financing gap, making lack of access to financing a common constraint to their business growth," said Ecobank Kenya Managing Director Cheikh Travaly.

He said the growth of women-led and women-focused businesses has for long been hampered by a range of impediments, including access to finance.

"We have specially designed Ellevate to meet the needs of women entrepreneurs through the provision of comprehensive and tailormade solutions which include favourable lending rates, smart cash management enablement and a suite of value-added services such as leadership training, mentoring and networking opportunities," the MD said. Ecobank will now allocate a minimum of 10 per cent of its loan portfolio to women’s businesses.

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