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Access Bank and its international partner FMO the Dutch Development Bank have collaborated to provide financial empowerment to women entrepreneurs.
The initiative was under Access Bank’s flagship women empowerment programme, the ‘W’ Initiative.
Four women entrepreneurs from different fields were brought together with female leaders in finance from across the world to work alongside customers and staff of Access Bank in order to drive impact in gender finance.
The programme employed a combination of personal engagement with the entrepreneurs, group leadership workshops, one-on-one executive coaching and hands-on cross-organisational strategic project team work that lead to a constructive “pitch” session in which they received critical feedback from relevant stakeholders.
The entrepreneurs were Helina Adu Gyamfi, proprietress of distribution service company, Perfect Personal Care, Gladys Agyenim, wholesaler of Car Batteries at Mensuro Motors in Abose Okai, Emelia Ohene-Kena, Managing Director of boxing company, Royal Crown Packaging and Joanna Awuku, a Utility Retailer.
The participants expressed delight at the initiative and thanked the bank for creating a rich network they could tap from to accelerate their business fortunes.
The Manager in charge of Financial Institutions of FMO, Chantal Korteweg said the move will help FMO and Access Bank understand the dilemma of female entrepreneurs and tailor products to satisfy their needs.
“It’s important to know the financing needs of customers, where they want to go” Madam Korteweng told Starr Business’ Osei Owusu Amankwaah.
She added: “It is not really about money but support the ideas, believing in gender equality and women empowerment”.
The Head of Exclusive Banking at Access Bank, Mrs. Matilda Asante-Asiedu was optimistic that the initiative will help entrepreneurs expand their operations.
“What we sort to do essentially is to give them the tools they need to first better appreciate and understand their business and to project their business to where they want it to be.
“Part of what we provide under W is access to market. How do you access a market when you don’t know strategically where you want your business to go? We say we are providing access to finance, financial services and support. We are also providing financial literacy and trading and that is very key because we found that even within the four entrepreneurs that we engaged, apparently, not all of them are looking for loans. Some are looking for basic tools that effectively manage their finances”.
Access Bank began its relationship with FMO in 2014 through a USD 40 million credit facility in conjunction with PROPARCO to support its lending activities to the private sector in the Ghanaian economy.
FMO is the Dutch development bank. As a leading impact investor, FMO supports sustainable private sector growth in developing countries and emerging markets by investing in ambitious projects and entrepreneurs.
FMO believes that a strong private sector leads to economic and social development, and has a 45-year proven track record of empowering people to employ their skills and improve their quality of life. FMO focuses on three sectors that have high development impact: financial institutions, energy, and agribusiness, food & water. With a committed portfolio of EUR 9.8 billion spanning over 85 countries, FMO is one of the larger bilateral private sector developments banks globally.
The Access Bank ‘W’ Initiative seeks to inspire, connect and empower women by offering a bundle of tailor made products, services and opportunities to women, ranging from young professionals, women with family and women in business.
Last year, Access Bank’s ‘W’ was recognised as the Most Outstanding Banking Initiative at the 3rd Women in Business and Finance awards. The Bank also launched the Maternal Health Support Scheme (MHSS) to offer women a financial lifeline in accessing various fertility treatments at specialist hospitals in Ghana and around the world.