The FINANCIAL — The EBRD is increasing financing for its popular Women in Business programme with a new US$ 55 million loan to QNB Finansbank, a Turkish commercial bank, which will on-lend the funds to businesses either owned or run by women.
To help QNB Finansbank expand its banking services to female entrepreneurs, the EBRD and donors – the government of Turkey, and the European Union (EU) – will also provide first-loss risk cover, a feature designed to make loans less risky and therefore more affordable, worth up to €4.4 million.
Women-led firms can also receive business advice from local and international experts under the programme, as well as access to training, mentoring, networking and other services to help them develop and improve their competitiveness.
The five-year loan is the second EBRD cooperation with QNB Finansbank aimed at businesswomen. It brings the total EBRD financing for the Women in Business programme in Turkey to €300 million. Across the 17 countries where the programme is active, the Bank has committed over US$ 400 million, according to EBRD.
The Women in Business programme seeks to equalise the chances of success for female entrepreneurs. It combines credit lines to local financial institutions, to stimulate lending to firms, with business advice for the companies themselves. It also provides training for the financial sector, helping to introduce new practices that best serve a modern, inclusive society.
The programme helps local commercial banks to better understand the financial needs of businesses run by women, who in Turkey as in many other countries often own fewer assets and are therefore considered to pose a higher credit risk.
Since the launch of the framework in 2014, nearly 14,000 women-led businesses in Turkey have received loans worth a total of TL 650 million (€190 million equivalent) through five partner banks, over 40 per cent of which are based outside the main commercial regions of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. In addition, almost 4,000 female entrepreneurs and managers have benefited from non-financial services to develop their businesses, including advisory support from qualified local consultants and international experts and participation in seminars, training workshops, networking activities and mentoring services.
These projects have been supported by a total of €38 million in grant financing from the government of Turkey and from the EU.
Jean-Patrick Marquet, EBRD Managing Director for Turkey, said: “We are delighted to have extended the planned €300 million to our partner banks in Turkey. This highly successful programme is a wonderful example of how international institutions and local authorities can join forces to deliver impact. As we see continuous demand for financing and advisory services from women-led businesses, we will spare no effort to ensure that the programme continues.”
Temel Güzeloğlu, CEO of QNB Finansbank, commented: “Banking cannot make a strong investment in its own future unless it embraces all segments of society and helps to ensure social development and equilibrium. We therefore particularly appreciate our cooperation with the EBRD, whose values are consistent with our own. We were the fastest Turkish bank in terms of on-lending the first loans granted by the EBRD as part of its Women in Business programme, and our success has earned us the right to this second credit tranche.”
“Under the EBRD’s Women in Business programme we have supported 6,170 female entrepreneurs since 2015, with our loan commitments amounting to TL 246 million. We will continue to support them with a wide array of solutions that best suit their needs for finance, consultancy and cash management. This new facility from the EBRD will further enhance our abilities in this regard.”
To date, the EBRD has invested close to €9.5 billion in various sectors of Turkey’s economy, with 97 per cent of investments supporting the development of private enterprise.