What you need to know:
- This is part of the Women Enterprise Fund’s 2023–27 Strategic Plan.
- Since its inception in 2007, it has disbursed Sh27.8 billion to over two million women.
- It has also trained over 1.72 million women in entrepreneurship, financial literacy and value addition.
The national government, through the Women Enterprise Fund, will finance five million women to start up businesses while facilitating market access for 200,000 others.
This is part of the fund’s 2023–27 Strategic Plan. Since its inception in 2007, it has disbursed Sh27.8 billion to over two million women and trained over 1.72 million women in entrepreneurship, financial literacy and value addition.
The fund's board chairperson, Dr Jane Lang’at, on Tuesday said the team will ease loan accessibility for women entrepreneurs, enhance their financial and entrepreneurial skills, and ease their access to markets.
“We encourage women to seek loans as we have ample funds available. Specifically, the fund aims to distribute Sh30 billion to support five million new women entrepreneurs.
"Additionally, the fund is committed to providing training for approximately one million women in areas such as entrepreneurship, financial literacy, digital literacy, business management, AGPO, and value addition.
"Finally, market access will be facilitated for over 200,000 women entrepreneurs,” Dr Lang’at said during the plan’s launch.
AGPO refers to Access to Government Procurement Opportunities and is meant for women, youths and persons living with disabilities.
Also read: How to access Women Enterprise Fund
Dr Lang’at, however, expressed concern about cases where borrowers fail to repay.
“A formidable challenge we currently face is the recurrent occurrence of women borrowing funds without fulfilling repayment obligations, often rationalising it as government money.
"To address this issue, we extend an invitation to women to actively engage in loan applications while emphasising the critical importance of timely repayments,” she said.
“Our approach goes beyond mere financial provision, seeking to cultivate a culture where repayment is viewed as a transformative step, elevating one's financial standing.
"It's crucial to understand that diligent repayments not only fulfil financial obligations but also serve as a pathway to expanding credit limits, offering women entrepreneurs greater opportunities for financial growth and stability.”
Dr Josephine Obonyo, Gender secretary, said the fund was remodelled in March in line with President William Ruto’s directive to digitise government services, by opening loan access on USSD code *254#.
“Since then, women can access loans by dialing *254# on their phones, and so far Sh941 million has been disbursed to 18,955 groups,” she said.
“One of the primary goals of this strategic plan is to enhance financial inclusion for women. By providing them with easier access to credit, training and mentorship programmes, we aim to further the Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agenda, Vision 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals.”
During the implementation period of the strategic plan, the fund will broaden financial access for millions of women entrepreneurs, and bolstering the capacity of women in areas such as financial literacy, value addition, AGPO and business counselling.
The plan further focuses on improving market access for women entrepreneurs through strategic linkages, facilitation of markets, and creating friendly workplaces.
A pivotal aspect involves the strengthening of human capital, policies, processes, and technological infrastructure to ensure effective and sustainable realisation of the objectives.
The fund's stakeholder validation workshop for its plan was held at Sarova Stanley, Nairobi. Yvonne Tonkei, who chaired the Ad Hoc Committee on the Strategic Plan, and Raphael Kimolo, the fund's acting CEO, were among those present.