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Small and Medium Enterprises

Why serve small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs)?

Small businesses, known as SMEs account for more than 90 percent of enterprises in the global economy and contribute about 50 to 60 percent of employment in the world. Women-led SMEs make up roughly a third of this market, the majority of which are in developing countries. Despite the growth and contribution of these businesses, there is a tremendous gap in their access to finance: more than 70 per cent of women-led SMEs are estimated to be either unserved or underserved financially.  According to a recent Goldman Sachs study, closing the SME credit gap can have a tremendous impact to the global economy: if we close this gap by 2020 in just 15 countries, per capita incomes will increase 12 per cent by 2030. More women will have access to the financial tools they needs to grow their business, employ others and strengthen their economic security.

Our Approach

Women’s World Banking has begun working with financial institutions to identify the opportunity for serving women-led SMEs in their markets. To support this work, we have conducted research to better understand the unique needs of women-led SMEs and the financing options available to them (Access to Finance of Women-Owned SMEs in Southeast Asia: An Assessment of Five Countries), as well as gathered the best techniques in serving this market from six best-practice institutions from around the world (Global Best Practices in Banking Women-Led SMEs). We will be working directly with financial institutions in the coming year to test and implement a full suite of financial services for these women and their businesses.

Our Impact and Reach

Introduced in: Diamond Bank (Nigeria) in 2014

Currently working in: Banco Interfisa (Paraguay) and NBS Bank (Malawi)

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