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Affordable finance set for women

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A memorandum of understanding (MoU) is signed on Tuesday to provide better access to finance to women entrepreneurs with micro- and small-scale businesses that often do not meet eligibility criteria set by formal financial service providers. SUPPLIED

Affordable finance set for women

USAID-funded, Pact Cambodia-implemented Women Entrepreneurs Act (WE Act), Wing Bank (Cambodia) Plc and Boost Capital (Cambodia) Co Ltd will team up to provide affordable financial services and products to underserved young women entrepreneurs (YWE) in the Kingdom and increase access to finance.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed to this effect on June 15 – and witnessed by US ambassador to Cambodia W Patrick Murphy – aiming at providing better access to finance to young women entrepreneurs with micro- and small-scale businesses that often do not meet eligibility criteria set by formal financial service providers and have been adversely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Murphy emphasised that Cambodia’s female entrepreneurs are important players in the Kingdom’s economy. “Ensuring they have all the resources they need to succeed will benefit all Cambodians by encouraging the economic growth needed to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.”

Pact Cambodia country director and WE Act chief of party Sabine Joukes said WE Act is proud that two very different private sector partners took up the challenge of designing products specifically addressing the two main issues of accessing finance – as regular microfinance institutions (MFI) ask for registration and collateral – leaving many women entrepreneurs without access to affordable financing.

“We thank Boost and Wing Bank for their willingness to partner with us to the benefit of women entrepreneurs,” said Joukes.

Partnering with the two digital financial services companies to design targeted products and services, WE Act will expand opportunities for young women entrepreneurs to access affordable financial resources, she said.

She added that the initiative will offer preferential terms on productive loans to over 500 young women entrepreneurs and provide them with ongoing financial literacy resources to enable them to manage their businesses.

Wing Bank deputy CEO Hor Bunthe said: “Through this partnership, we will be able to offer financial assistance to women entrepreneurs across Cambodia who would otherwise be neglected, helping them to focus on growing and improving their business despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Wing Bank is committed to our vision of providing every Cambodian with convenient access to financial services relevant to their daily lives.”

Boost and Wing Bank will offer a unique loan-services catering for young women entrepreneurs who have unregistered businesses and do not have collateral while still offering a highly competitive interest rate.

Boost co-founder Lucinda Revell said: “These hard-working female entrepreneurs want to access financing to grow their businesses. Applying for a loan from anywhere and at any time with our technology makes it easy and convenient for them to get a loan from an MFI they can trust to support their business needs.

“Through our MFI partners, we have already enabled over $1 million in loans disbursed, and we’re excited to further support women-led businesses.”

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