Activities & Research
M-Kyala Ventures participated in the ANDE East Africa gender action labs, which brought together women and male leaders from organizations that work to support the empowerment of women in different fields.
The action lab used an inclusive participatory design approach to map key systemic challenges affecting women in their capacities as leaders, employees, and consumers. The Gender Smart Lending tool was proposed as a solution to these challenges.
The research was conducted among 90 female entrepreneurs from 8 sub-sectors, including Fintech, Agriculture, etc in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda. The team sought to understand the experiences of women entrepreneurs in interacting with financial institutions and identifying blockers that when smoothened, would improve their access to financing.
The women polled had businesses with annual revenues of 20,000–50,000 USD that were formally registered, had been in operation for 2-5 years, and were typically looking for financing for their next stage of growth, for example, entry into new markets.
Financial services ecosystem players including the African Guarantee Fund, DFCU Bank, and I&M bank also provided the much-needed information on the different products they offer.
Insight 1: Limited awareness of existing gender tailored financial products
86.5% of women entrepreneurs are not aware of existing gender-tailored financial products while opening business bank accounts
68.5% of women entrepreneurs are unaware of existing gender tailored financial products a year and more after opening a business bank account
Addressing the issue of limited awareness of gender tailored financial products is crucial for increasing access to financial resources for women entrepreneurs. By increasing awareness and understanding of these products, women entrepreneurs will be better equipped to make informed decisions about their financial needs and options. We highlight some of the proposed solutions here.
Insight 2: Limited availability of suitable financing products for women entrepreneurs
57.8% of respondents seek out working capital as their priority financing need
62.7% of the respondents could not find specific loan products for their financing needs.
Increasing the availability of suitable financing products for women entrepreneurs is crucial for supporting the growth and success of these businesses. By developing and offering a wider range of financing products and providing personalized and flexible financing options, financial institutions can help address the unique needs of women entrepreneurs and support their long-term success.
Insight 3: Restrictive financing requirements
39% of the respondents have been denied loans because they didn't meet the criteria
38% of the respondents couldn't access the loans without the necessary collateral
"Access to loans is critical for women entrepreneurs due to the unique challenges they face. Providing financial education and mentorship programs can help women entrepreneurs to better understand the loan application process, develop their business acumen, and build their credit profiles. These programs can also provide a valuable support network for women entrepreneurs, which can help them to overcome the unique challenges they face in starting and growing a business."