Women entrepreneurs to benefit from Sh250b KCB funding

KCB has already eased credit requirements and documentation such as security for faster loan processing. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

KCB Bank Kenya has set aside Sh250 billion to fund women-owned enterprises over the next five years.

The listed lender said the funding is open to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) owned or run by women across the country.

To unlock this, KCB has already eased credit requirements and documentation such as security for faster loan processing.

Additionally, women entrepreneurs will be able to get non-financial support extended by partner organisations.

Under the Sh50 billion a year platform named Female-Led and Made Enterprises (FLME), KCB seeks to support entrepreneurship, job creation, and strengthen its outreach towards unique market segments like businesses owned or run by women.

"KCB believes that the MSME (micro, small and medium-sized enterprises) sector bears the biggest influence on the economic trajectory of East Africa. We consider this sub-sector as a promising development frontier," said KCB Group Chief Executive Paul Russo..

"We are reimagining the way we engage with women entrepreneurs to enable them better overcome business challenges by providing working capital and other critical non-financial needs to sustain their growth.

"Women are running some of the most transformative business enterprises in Kenya, which we see as the conglomerates of the future."

He, however, noted that such businesses face a lot of obstacles, such as limited access to credit facilities, labour and skill gaps, exclusion from key networks and social and legal constraints.

"What we are now doing is mainstreaming this agenda by widening the net to enable more women entrepreneurs to get access to the critical business support touchpoints," said Mr Russo.

Data shows that almost 80 per cent of women-owned businesses have limited or no access to credit. They lack collateral or proper documentation to access credit facilities.

"When a woman wants to start or grow her own business, the odds of securing a business loan are heavily stacked against her. We are relaxing some of the requirements as a solution to addressing inequality in accessing credit finance," the CEO said.

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