Eskişehir women entrepreneurs learn about opportunities to grow their businesses

By Olga Rosca
@olgarosca

Eskişehir women entrepreneurs learn about opportunities to grow their businesses

EBRD and partners bring Finance and Advice for Women in Business Programme to Turkey’s north-west

The Finance and Advice for Women in Business Programme, funded by the European Union (EU), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Republic of Turkey, was introduced to local women-led businesses in Turkish north-western city of Eskişehir today. 

The programme aims at strengthening the role of female entrepreneurs in the Turkish economy and help women-led businesses grow by offering them finance and technical support.

Speaking at the event, Jaap Sprey, the head of the EBRD’s Small Business Support Programme for Turkey and Caucasus, said: “Our goal is to help women-entrepreneurs thrive and the Finance and Advice for Women in Business Programme offers them the tools they need to grow.

The EBRD is providing up to €300 million in credit lines to local banks for on-lending to women-led businesses and the EU, the Turkish Ministry of Labour and Social Security and the Turkish Employment Agency are supporting the programme with €38 million for credit enhancement, advice to companies, including mentoring, entrepreneurship trainings and networking opportunities as well as technical assistance for partner banks.

To date, four Turkish banks have joined the programme and received financing from the EBRD: VakıfBank (US$ 30 million), Finansbank (€50 million), İşbank (US$ 55 million), and Türk Ekonomi Bankası (€50 million).

The programme aims to reach out to more than 15,000 business women across Turkey, in particular in cities like Eskişehir, where they still find access to finance difficult.

“Eskişehir is an important region for us as we aim to expand our programme to western Turkey and the city with its dynamic economy and active women entrepreneurs offers good potential,” Mr Sprey added.

Previously the EBRD held meetings in Gaziantep and Kayseri to introduce the Finance and Advice for Women in Business Programme to local enterprises and encourage them to apply for support.

As Turkey’s economy is largely dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises, boosting this sector is one of the ways the EBRD is helping the country achieve sustainable growth.

The Bank started investing in Turkey in 2009. In just six years the Bank has invested over €5 billion in Turkey through more than 140 projects in infrastructure, energy, agribusiness, industry and finance. It has also mobilised over €12 billion for these ventures from other sources of financing. In 2014 Turkey became the leading recipient country of the EBRD, with new investments worth €1.4 billion.