Women Enterprise Fund aims to grow fund to Sh10 billion in five years

Yvonne Tonkei (left), Dr. Jane Lang'at, Moses Ivuto and Raphael Kimolo during the launch of the five-year Strategic Plan. [Edward Kiplimo,Standard]

The Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) seeks to grow its fund value from the current  Sh4.5 billion to Sh10 billion in the next five years.

This is according to the Fund’s board chairperson Dr Jane Lang'at, who said this during the launch of the five-year Strategic Plan 2023-2027 in Nairobi on Friday morning.

The fund also said it plan to resume giving loans in March mid after it stopped the process in September last year.

In the second year, it projects to grow it to Sh5.8 billion, Sh7.2 billion, Sh8.6 billion and Sh10 billion in the fifth year respectively, loaning Sh0.5 million, Sh1.5 million, Sh2.5 million, Sh3.5 million and Sh5 million respectively.

She said the Strategic Plan is a roadmap to the future and testament to their collective commitment to excellence, innovation and good sustainability of the fund.

“The strategic plan is in response to the Kenya Kwanza government’s Bottom Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA). Among other objectives apart from the fund growth is to financial inclusion, capacity building, market accessibility and institutional strengthening as key result areas,” said Dr Lang'at.

The chairperson said with the digitised model, the processing of loans turnaround time has reduced.

“With the manual model, we used to take 45 days and now a group can take 24 hours in the application process with the digitised model and get the money within one week time,” said Lang'at.

The Board Chair said they will continue with group borrowing to reduce risks but once in the group wallet, a woman can borrow individually or as a group.

On complains that the fund is giving little amount, she said that will increase due to good repayment record of a group, which can allow them to borrow more.

Since 2007 when the fund was established, the fund has loaned Sh27.8 billion, disbursed to over 2 million women across the country and over 1.72 million women trained on entrepreneurship, financial literacy and value addition.

This is besides several initiatives to enable market access and linkages.

Since the digital platform was launched, Sh941 million has been loaned to 18,000 women groups and about Sh257 million repaid back according to Kimolo.

According to a survey done by data firm IDinsight, WEF has had an impact on over 91 percent of women.

It among others recommends a follow-up assessment of the digital loan model to assess thechanges that have come about as a result of the introduction of the digital platform

In a speech read on her behalf by Moses Ivuto, Secretary Administration at the State Department of Gender and Affirmative Action, Cabinet Secretary for Gender, Culture, the Arts and Heritage Aisha Jumwa welcomed the launch of the Strategic Plan.

“The Fund's mission has always been anchored in the belief that empowered women lead to empowered communities. With this strategic plan, we are taking a bold step towards creating lasting impact and fostering positive change,” said CS Jumwa.

She added: “The plan places a strong emphasis on sustainability and resilience. In an ever-changing economic landscape, it is imperative that our women entrepreneurs are equipped to navigate challenges and seize opportunities.The strategic plan outlines initiatives to enhance the skills and knowledge of women entrepreneurs, ensuring that they are well-prepared for the dynamic business environment.”

The CS said the strategic plan is a comprehensive roadmap that not only acknowledges the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs but also presents innovative solutions to overcome these hurdles.