The EBRD is seeking to increase the number of women in business in Turkey by providing a US$ 60 million credit line via Garanti Bank that will be entirely dedicated to female owners or managers of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Women represent a huge, untapped resource in the Turkish labour market and this is particularly true in the world of business, where only a small minority of managers are female. The EBRD credit line, which will form part of Garanti Bank’s existing Women Entrepreneurs Support Package, will make it easier for female entrepreneurs to access the financing they need to succeed.
It will also provide more support for women who own or manage SMEs outside the main cities of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. For this credit line, the EBRD is asking Garanti Bank to extend a larger proportion of loans to female entrepreneurs from outside those three urban centres than it currently does.
Another feature of the EBRD credit line is that the average loan tenor will be increased. The extra time will give entrepreneurs more flexibility in paying their debts and will encourage larger-scale investments. The maximum amount for a single loan under the credit line will be US$ 2 million.
Furthermore, the EBRD is planning to support Garanti Bank’s training scheme for women in business. The programme, delivered by Bosphorus University, aims to increase the financial, legal and managerial literacy of female entrepreneurs. The scheme is expected to be financed jointly by Garanti Bank and by technical cooperation funds provided through the EBRD.
Michael Davey, the EBRD’s Director for Turkey, said: “We are delighted to be working with Garanti Bank on increasing access to finance for female entrepreneurs in Turkey. With this credit line, which is in keeping with the EBRD’s strategy for Turkey and its Gender Action Plan, we hope to make it easier for women who own or manage SMEs to get the funding they need to grow their enterprises and to participate even more actively in the world of Turkish business.”
Francis Malige, the EBRD’s Director for Financial Institutions in the southern and eastern Mediterranean, Turkey and Ukraine, said: “Garanti Bank is a strategic partner for the EBRD. We are happy to be signing this credit line, which is the first in the history of the EBRD to be entirely dedicated to women-owned and operated SMEs.”
Garanti Bank, which is the second-largest privately owned bank in Turkey in terms of assets, set up the Women Entrepreneurs Support Package in 2006. Before the EBRD credit line, the initiative’s exposure to female entrepreneurs stood at around US$ 270 million and Garanti Bank plans to increase this considerably over the next two years.
Nafiz Karadere, Garanti Bank’s Executive Vice President responsible for SME banking, said: “At Garanti Bank, we aim to encourage woman entrepreneurs and contribute to their development and success by providing financial and educational support. We constantly strive to move them one step further.
“The latest EBRD credit line has the distinction of being the highest funding amount entirely dedicated to Turkish women entrepreneurs. Our efforts to support female entrepreneurship have received multiple awards and are regarded as a model by many international banks. Thanks to Garanti Bank’s outstanding success in contracting foreign debt, we will continue to provide financing for female entrepreneurs.”
Next year, Garanti Bank plans to host the Global Banking Alliance for Women annual summit in Istanbul. It is the first Turkish bank to join the network.
Since the beginning of its operations in Turkey, the EBRD has committed close to €2.5 billion in various sectors of the country’s economy, attracting additional investment in excess of €5 billion.