Conference discusses opportunities for female entrepreneurs
To mark International Women’s Day, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and its partners – the European Union (EU), Turkey’s Ministry of Labour and Social Security and the country’s Employment Agency İŞKUR – gathered for a conference in Istanbul today to discuss challenges and opportunities for female entrepreneurship.
The half-day event included public officials, political representatives, leading players in the financial sector, representatives of the business community and civil society organisations that are actively promoting female entrepreneurship.
The conference also considered the impact of the joint Finance and Advice for Women in Business programme financed by the EU, the EBRD and the Republic of Turkey.
Since the launch of the framework in 2014, 12,000 women-led businesses have received loans worth a total of 600 million TL (€160 million) through five partner banks – Garantibank, QNB Finansbank, TEB, Isbank and Vakıfbank. More than 5,500 female entrepreneurs and managers have benefited from advisory support by qualified local consultants and international experts and participated in seminars, training workshops, networking activities and mentoring services.
Jean-Patrick Marquet, EBRD Managing Director for Turkey, said: “This programme is a wonderful example of how international institutions and local authorities can join forces and deliver for the benefit of the economy and society. Supporting female entrepreneurs is a key part of our inclusion agenda to which the EBRD pays the highest attention. Our experience as well as our research clearly demonstrates that only inclusive economies are successful economies.”
The conference included two panel discussions with high level participants focusing on ways to boost female entrepreneurship in Turkey, create more synergy between public institutions and NGOs, raise awareness of international donor programmes, to further promote consultancy and mentorship as proven means to help small businesses grow, and encourage banks to step up their financing for women-led businesses.
Turkey is a top destination for the EBRD’s finance, with €1.9 billion invested in 2016 alone. To date, the Bank has invested over €9 billion in Turkey through more than 220 projects across many sectors and has mobilised nearly €20 billion for these ventures from other sources of financing. Some 98 per cent of the Bank’s investments in Turkey are in the private sector.
As part of the Finance and Advice for Women in Business programme, the Bank and its partners aim to enhance and strengthen the role of women in the Turkish economy by supporting female entrepreneurs with greater access to finance and advisory services.