Removing barriers to finance

Thursday, March 16, 2017
Lian at the market with her produce

Running a women-owned business in male dominant industry presents its own set of challenges. Women entrepreneurs and employers face significantly greater challenges than men in gaining access to financial services. Provisions of collateral against loan, conservative societal perception, limited access to knowledge and financial institutions are some of the salient issues that prevent women from fully participating in economy.

USAID’s Promote: Women in the Economy (WIE) program has developed a loan referral mechanism where women-owned businesses or businesses that employ at least 10 percent of female workforce are identified, educated and supported to acquire financial services. WIE identifies qualified women entrepreneurs and employers in need of financial support and assists them in preparing required documentations to secure investment loans. After thorough screening, these businesses are referred to the preselected pool of financial institutions.

WIE was able to assist Lian*, the owner of a home-based pickle production business, in securing a loan of 50,000 AFN. To provide for her family, she produces pickle, spaghetti, and jam at home and sells it in the local market. “In Ramadan, such products have high demand,” remarked Lian. “I never had enough capital to grow my business but this loan will definitely turn my business around for good. I will be able to double my production during Ramadan and grow my business in no time.”

She was running her business from home but after she received the loan, it helped her to open a sales point in the market where she could sell her products. The loan she received also helped her to hire two more female staff and to increase her average monthly income by an estimated 20 percent.

*Name changed to protect identity