New funds to İşbank to support women-led firms in Turkey

By Olga Rosca

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The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) continues supporting women entrepreneurs in Turkey with a US$ 55 million financing to Türkiye İş Bankası A.Ş. (İşbank).
The financing will be on-lent to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) led by women from across the country under the Finance and Advice for Women in Business programme, which is jointly funded by the European Union, the EBRD and the Republic of Turkey.
The labour force participation rate of women in Turkey is very low, at below 50 per cent. Entrepreneurship is one of the most important avenues for job creation; however women-led businesses face additional constraints in accessing the financing and know-how they need to grow their businesses.
The Finance and Advice for Women in Business programme includes a comprehensive package of €300 million in dedicated credit lines to participating banks to facilitate access to finance for women-led businesses and a risk-sharing mechanism and advice to help these banks better address the financial needs and growth plans of their clients. The programme also involves direct advice to SMEs led by women to improve the competitiveness of these businesses and a range of training, networking and mentoring opportunities.  
İşbank is one of the first lenders to join the programme. The EBRD funds are extended through an investment in rated senior US dollar-denominated bond notes issued under İşbank’s Diversified Payment Rights (DPR) programme, an established market instrument used by Turkish banks to raise long-term funding in the capital markets.
Yılmaz Ertürk, Deputy Chief Executive of İşbank, said: “The funds obtained through the new securitization deal we have completed successfully will help support the diversification and lengthening the maturity of our funding resources. It will also let us support the Turkish economy further specifically in the areas of financing of the energy sector and woman entrepreneurs which we, as İşbank, attach great importance to.”
Jean-Patrick Marquet, EBRD Director for Turkey, said: “We are pleased to be expanding our successful cooperation with İşbank. Making efforts to support women’s entrepreneurship and empowerment is one of the EBRD’s key priorities in Turkey. We welcome İşbank’s commitment to making more funds available to female entrepreneurs and we will support the bank with advice and grant-funded technical assistance provided by Turkey and the European Union.”
The EBRD started investing in Turkey in 2009. It currently operates from offices in Istanbul, Ankara and Gaziantep. In 2014 Turkey became the leading recipient country of the EBRD, with new investments worth €1.4 billion.
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.
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