On the surface it appears that women entrepreneurs in Kenya increasingly have to rely on public funding and social initiatives, like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to access financing for their businesses. Why are our financial institutions slow to aid female entrepreneurs when they stand to benefit a lot from this course of action?
For one, women business owners present an untapped market. We always share the findings on how Kenyan women are under served or entirely ignored. Another study titled ‘Explore Growth Barriers Faced by Female Entrepreneurs in East Africa’ revealed that women have to rely on savings and profits to finance expansion. Information like this proves that it is silly to attribute negative stereotypes to female led businesses that fail. It’s clear that the game is rigged, people.
Every financial institution should be rubbing their hands at the prospect of serving such a market. After all, women entrepreneurs are ready to scale the heights. The only thing that relegates them to small scale business is lack of financial muscle.
A great thing for the banks and SACCOs out there to appreciate is that this market is by no means small. Women own 48% of the SMEs in Kenya. If financial inclusion of the lesser earning portion of the population was justified by its size then surely women entrepreneurs in Kenya are in with a shout, regarding this matter.
Lastly, there is the social value that comes with being associated with supporting women entrepreneurs. How many businesses can you name that are scrambling over each other for those sweet PR points? It therefore makes some sense to opt for social responsibility activity that goes further and directly boosts your bottom line. Financial institutions can help women entrepreneurs grow their business. The women will sort societal problems by reinvesting in their families.