Bridging the Gender Gap in Entrepreneurship

Women entrepreneurs and startups in Kenya are poised to receive a significant boost with the announcement of a a €30 million (KShs. 4 billion) lending initiative. This transformative partnership between KCB Bank Kenya, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the European Investment Bank aims to empower women-led enterprises and foster economic inclusion.

A Catalyst for Growth

The €30 million funding, provided by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the European Investment Bank, will be channeled through KCB Bank's Female-Led and Made Enterprises (FLME) and KCB Foundation 2jiajiri propositions. FLME, a KShs. 250 billion initiative launched two years ago, is designed to provide flexible, accessible, and affordable solutions for women entrepreneurs. It serves as a comprehensive platform to support women and young people on their entrepreneurial journey, addressing the gaps left by traditional lenders.

Empowering Women Entrepreneurs

Since its inception, FLME has emerged as a catalyst for improving relationships with KCB's female customers, providing tailored financial solutions, and offering essential business advisory services. The initiative has facilitated the disbursement of loans worth KShs. 111.6 billion to over 600,000 FLME customers, with the FLME portfolio constituting 35% of KCB's SME loan book. This substantial impact underscores the commitment of KCB Bank and its partners to promoting gender equality and economic empowerment.

Commitment to Gender Equality: A Collaborative Effort

H.E. Henriette Geiger, European Union Ambassador to Kenya, emphasizes the significance of this partnership in advancing gender equality and improving the lives of women entrepreneurs and their families. The cooperation between The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the European Investment Bank, and the European Union represents a concrete step towards closing gender gaps and increasing access to finance for women across Africa. The initiative is expected to pave the way for future microfinance engagement in East Africa and beyond, aligning with the Global Gateway strategy and receiving support from the European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus (EFSD+).

Driving Economic Inclusion and Empowerment

As KCB Bank, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the European Investment Bank join forces to support women entrepreneurs in Kenya and beyond, the impact of this partnership extends far beyond financial assistance. By fostering economic inclusion, promoting gender equality, and providing vital resources, this initiative is poised to transform the entrepreneurial landscape and unlock the full potential of women-led enterprises in Africa.