The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, and Turkey’s Alternatif Bank inked a cooperation deal to provide $100 million for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) particularly those run by women.

The 5-year maturity financing comprises $80 million from IFC’s own account and $20 million from the Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Program (MCPP), funded by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, with IFC acting in its capacity as the implementing entity. At least 25 percent of the loan proceeds will be used to support Alternatif Bank’s lending to women owned or managed SMEs (WSMEs).

Alternatif Bank CEO Kaan Gür said: “We believe that the entrepreneurial spirit, perseverance and assiduity of women have an important place in the development of the Turkish economy. We hope that this loan will contribute to supporting women entrepreneurs, creating more jobs, facilitating new opportunities and financing more SMEs.”

Access to finance is one of the biggest constraints on business growth for SMEs in Turkey. The IFC’s loan will help unleash untapped potential for employment and economic growth.

“With this financing, we are addressing one of IFC’s key development priorities in Turkey – financial inclusion for underserved segments such as women entrepreneurs,” said Vittorio di Bello, the IFC regional industry head for the Financial Institutions Group in Europe and Central Asia. “Access to long-term financing is a challenge in emerging markets, especially for SMEs, the backbone of Turkey’s economic activity. IFC’s partnership with Alternatif Bank in Turkey will ensure that smaller companies and women entrepreneurs will continue to have access to the funds they need to grow and create jobs.”

Helping to increase the share of Turkey’s women entrepreneurs by working with banks to provide them with financial or non-financial support such as training and coaching is part of IFC’s strategy in Turkey. In the last decade, the IFC has been working with Turkish banks and has provided $61 million of financing for women entrepreneurs under its Banking on Women program to support women in supply chains, engaged in efforts to progress the Women on Boards project and have made $75 million in the first gender bond in emerging markets.

Source: DAILY SABAH