British banking group HSBC recently announced the launch of a US$1 billion fund dedicated exclusively to financing women entrepreneurs in 11 countries around the world. Only one of the beneficiary countries is in Africa, Egypt namely.
Through the fund, HSBC will provide loans to women-led businesses over the next 12 months. It will also offer technical support including networking sessions, coaching from experienced bankers, and masterclasses led by business leaders.
The exact volume of the loans to be provided to each company was not disclosed, nor were the repayment terms or the interest rates.
“The level of funding received over time by female-led businesses is significantly lower than male counterparts, while the recent impacts of the pandemic have seen these same businesses disproportionately affected. female-owned businesses are also less likely to have global networks, meaning international expansion can prove particularly challenging [… ]As the global economy continues to rebuild from the impact of the pandemic, small and medium-sized businesses will continue to be the bedrock on which our economies and local communities are built, meaning we need to ensure that those led by women are given the support to fulfill their full potential,” said Sam Cooper-Gray, Global Head of Market Strategy at HSBC Business Banking.
The fund launched in addition to HSBC’s Roar programs aimed at helping “address the challenges and bias that female leaders face.”
In Africa, credit access is one of the major challenges faced by women entrepreneurs. In 2019, only 3% of startup funding and 2% of venture capital went to women entrepreneurs globally. According to a 2019 study by the Boston Consulting Group, closing the gender gap would increase global GDP by US$5 trillion.