While women-owned businesses represent 40 percent of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Turkiye, only 15 percent have access to finance, representing a credit gap of $4 billion. They also have 23 percent less access to technology than men-owned firms. All this limits women’s entrepreneurial potential and prospects for contributing to economic growth.
IFC believes that empowering more women entrepreneurs to participate in business will unleash significant growth potential and further develop the Turkish private sector. IFC is expanding its efforts to support women through increased investments combined with advisory services in the financial and real sector.
IFC launched its Banking on Women program in Europe and Central Asia in 2011 to support lending to women through financial intermediaries. To date, IFC has investments in Romania, Turkiye, and the Russian Federation. In Turkiye, IFC completed three loans – to Abank, Fibabank, and Sekerbank – totaling $60 million and reaching hundreds of women-owned SMEs.
As part of its expanded support for women entrepreneurs, IFC is working with Boyner Grup, Turkiye’s largest non-food retail operator, to strengthen women-led businesses in the firm’s supply chain. The pilot program, launched in November, aims to train 40 female owners and managers of smaller businesses that supply Boyner, from in and around İstanbul, İzmir, Samsun, and Eskişehir.
“Through our gender-inclusive practices, we aim to set an example for companies and corporations in Turkiye and promote gender equity in the country,” said Umit Boyner, former vice president of finance, now a member of the Boyner Grup board. “Investing in men and women equally is not just the right thing to do. It’s also a smart business decision – placing women and men throughout our operations allow us to tap into a much wider and more diverse pool of resources.”