IFC to launch investment fund for Indian women SMEs | SupportBiz


IFC to launch investment fund for Indian women SMEs

World Bank's investment arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) is considering a women's investment fund programme aimed at investing in women-owned businesses globally through private equity funds, reports Business Standard.

The programme would help SMEs in India and Africa and mid-cap companies in Southeast Asia. However, the quantum of the fund has not been disclosed by the Corporation.

According to IFC, working through experienced fund managers with regional and corporate banking experience would help improve corporate governance and train women entrepreneurs to grow their companies and create more jobs.

Furthermore, IFC's 'Banking on Women' programme supports access to finance and builds technical capacity for women through global and regional financial institutions. “Women entrepreneurs are changing the face of the global economy, helping to sustain job creation and economic growth. It is estimated that women-owned entities represent over 30 percent of registered businesses worldwide. Unfortunately, on average, only 5 to 10 percent of women-owned entities have access to commercial bank loans,” said IFC.

“IFC’s Banking on Women Program is playing a catalyzing role working with partners and financial institutions worldwide to profitably and sustainably serve businesses owned and run by women. Through leveraging the branch network and SME services of relationship financial institutions, IFC is working with local financial institutions to enhance offerings that increase access to finance for women entrepreneurs,” the Corporation added.

IFC also offers advisory services to financial institutions to deepen their ability to reach women-owned businesses through strategic planning, market positioning/segmentation, product repositioning and staff training. The Corporation reaches out to women entrepreneurs with customized training in business planning and management, financial literacy, and demystifying banks/credit application processes. IFC also facilitates networking and mentoring sessions for market expansion and business growth. 

To support a broader universe of women-owned businesses, IFC is now working with a more inclusive definition for these businesses to reflect both ownership as well as the number of women in management positions. Having high participation of women in management positions can also influence how businesses operate.