Promoting women in business
In 2012 in Turkey, the share of women in the labour force was, on average, only 29.5%, a figure well below EU and OECD averages. There are significant disparities among men and women in terms of running a business, with major Turkish banks estimating that women-owned SMEs represent only 0.5-5% of their portfolios. Supporting women entrepreneurship in Turkey, which has one of the lowest female labour force participation rates in the region, is a means to address both general levels of unemployment and the more specific concern of women’s unemployment, as well as to support the country’s economic growth.
The project’s aims and core activities
The aim of the project is to promote women’s participation in the labour market by assisting women-owned and women-managed businesses to access finance, know-how, and non-financial business advisory services.
Under the project, dedicated credit lines for women-owned and women-managed enterprises are expected to reach a volume of €300 million, provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The credit lines are expected to lead to the disbursement of at least 12,000 loans from financial institutions to borrowers. Lending institutions will also be offered first or second loss risk cover of up to 10% of the portfolio co-financed by the EU, which will help them recover eligible loan portfolio losses realised on the EBRD’s credit lines.
Lenders will also be given assistance in developing organisational structures and procedures to start or expand lending to women-owned and -managed businesses, as well as to formulate specific and tailored products for female entrepreneurs.
Last but not least, women entrepreneurs will be offered small business support through local and international consultants, such as diagnostic assistance to help identify their financing needs, know-how in order to best establish or develop their businesses, entrepreneurial skills development, sales, marketing and financial management, and ongoing business coaching and mentoring support. A pool of consultants has been established to assist women-owned and -managed SMEs in their business development activities. A programme of seminars, the “Women in Business” series, will be developed and organised on topics of interest to (potential) women entrepreneurs in order to build awareness of entrepreneurship as an employment prospect and opportunity for women.