New boost for the women-led businesses' financial resilience

 

New Faces New Voices Kenya Chair Caroline Armstrong-Ogwapit, Former South-Africa First Lady and Founder of NFNV Network Graca Machel during the launch of a new strategic plan for NFNV Kenya. [Esther Dianah, Standard]

New Faces New Voices (NFNV) Kenya, a network organisation under the Graça Machel Trust (GMT), has partnered with Kayana (space for female entrepreneurs) to create a client-centric, innovative approach to help women-led businesses develop financial resilience.

NFNV Kenya has taken steps towards enhancing the financial and economic resilience of women-led businesses using insurance products for risk mitigation. This enables small businesses to survive business shocks - giving them a solid platform to grow.

NFNV and Kayana convened a pilot group of women-led businesses to raise their awareness about the risks their businesses face and how to mitigate them.

It was noted that insurance is not only a viable solution but one that is undervalued and that it can build business resilience among female entrepreneurs when structured with the business at the centre of the product design.

NFNV Chairperson Caroline Armstrong-Ogwapit said NFNV recognises the need to ensure that micro and small businesses, especially those that are women-led, are exposed to multiple risks that intertwine the individuals and the business.

NFNV has embarked on a journey to empower female entrepreneurs with the knowledge and tools necessary to leverage insurance for their business continuity and growth. According to NFNV and Kayana, the approach taken marks the dawn of a new era, characterised by the co-creation of financial solutions.

Insurance solutions

Women entrepreneurs, according to Armstrong are a key pillar for economic stability, and it is better to sustainably address the challenges they face, especially in the current economic environment.

“Women-owned small businesses are helping to power Kenya’s small business boom and NFNV remains committed to ensuring women access the capital, resources and skills they need to build resilient businesses and create jobs to fuel our economy,” Ms Armstrong Ogwapit said.

“To improve women entrepreneurs’ access to appropriate insurance solutions, we have engaged the financial sector to take a non-traditional insurance approach and develop cost-effective and protective coverage solutions against new and evolving risks and delivering them in a way that speaks to the entrepreneurs’ needs and aspirations.”

According to a 2022 study by Viffa Consult, only 26 per cent of women-led SMEs in Kenya have insurance coverage with a minority of them having any business-related insurance.

Innovative insurance solutions responding to the specific needs of women-owned enterprises can play a significant role in building their resilience and ensuring sustainable growth - enabling them to navigate the challenges and opportunities of the changing business landscape.

“The ultimate objective of this collaborative initiative was to facilitate the co-creation of a gender-responsive insurance product specifically designed to address the unique needs of female entrepreneurs in Kenya,” Kayana co-founder Patricia Okelo said.

The session brought together key representatives from insurance companies to share their expertise in crafting and adapting financial products. These industry leaders engaged with the entrepreneurs, enabling them to better understand risk assessment and mitigation.

“Insurance is a critical tool for businesses of all sizes, but it is especially important for female MSMEs and SMEs, who are more vulnerable to economic shocks and business disruptions,” NFNV Vice Chair Wangeci Gitata-Kiriga said.

“By providing access to information and resources on risk management and insurance, we can help female business owners protect their businesses and create multigenerational enterprises.”

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