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Growing women entrepreneurs as potential market for banks

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There is no doubt that the growing women entrepreneurs in the country could serve as a potential market for banks to grow their businesses, thereby enhancing the Central Bank of Nigeria’s financial inclusion policy.

This is because statistics reveal that women constitute about 50 percent of the Nigerian population. It is estimated that women-owned businesses represent about 30 percent of registered businesses worldwide. Yet on average, only about 10 percent of women entrepreneurs have access to the finance needed to grow their business.

The logic is that with the growing number of women venturing into entrepreneurship, there is the likelihood of banks taking the opportunity to grow their risk assets.  Ultimately, their emergence is providing a veritable platform or opportunity for banks to embark on aggressive deposit mobilisation and consequently, reducing the number of the unbanked in the economy.

 By increasing access to finance for these women they will be able to build larger and more sustainable businesses and can contribute more to economic growth.

This represents a largely untapped market for financial institutions in developing countries, according to Ladi Smith, executive director, Credit Awareness Nigeria.

However, there is a growing global trend for improved access to finance for women and the development of many new banking products specially designed for women.

At present, women are now being recognised for their strong role in national economic development.

Consequently, some banks in the country are shifting focus to women banking through products designs that meet their needs.

Access Bank plc, had officially launched ‘W’ Initiative‎, which is the bank’s approach to banking women supported by an online interactive community dedicated to woman.

Diamond Bank plc, also recently, officially launched Diamond Woman; a proposition specifically designed to cater to the needs of women by providing lifestyle and business advisory services.

Access Bank has shown strong commitment to women empowerment and is uniquely positioning as the bank of choice for women, offering innovative women-focused products and services. Recently, the bank was appointed to the National Advisory Board of WEConnect, a global non-profit organisation committed to sustainable economic growth by increasing opportunities for women-owned businesses. The appointment was in recognition of the Bank’s numerous contributions to the development of women entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa.

By its membership, Access Bank becomes the only financial institution partner of the international women-empowerment organisation which draws its membership from over 70 countries across globe. The Bank is set to continuously leverage its alliances, partnerships and collaborations with reputable international organisations to promote women entrepreneurship across Africa.

Herbert Wigwe, group managing director, and the champion of the W Initiative – a programme designed for women banking, noted at the recently concluded United States-African Leaders international summit hosted by Bloomberg Philanthropies and the U.S. Commerce Department in Washington DC that “too often, the role of women in the continent is grossly underrepresented. We must embrace the fact that once the woman is educated, the whole family is educated; and what’s true for the family is true for the community and the whole country.”

According to him, the ‘W’ Initiative, offers privileges for women and their families to access a wide range of loan products and credit facilities; access to the ‘W’ community with helpful advice on family and financial matters; home and family articles and details of special offers; and access to a wide range of discounts, special offers and freebies on health, beauty and fitness. Wigwe talked at length about the Maternal Health Support Scheme (MHSS) which offers financial assistance for women who face difficulty with completing their family.

Article Credit: Businessdayonline

Updated 4 Years ago

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Tags:     Ladi Smith     Access Bank plc     Diamond Bank plc     Herbert Wigwe