Absa Bank Kenya yesterday hosted over 3,000 businesswomen from across Africa for a one-day mentorship conference aimed at empowering women entrepreneurs with new perspectives, practical skills and strategic insights to help them scale their businesses.
The training, organised in partnership with Absa Bank Ghana and Zambia, is part of the banks’ Women in Business proposition which supports women entrepreneurs with the financial and non-financial resources and skills they need to enable them to sustainably grow their businesses.
Speaking during the event at a Nairobi hotel, Absa Bank’s Business Banking Director Elizabeth Wasunna affirmed the bank’s ongoing efforts to empower women entrepreneurs with the necessary tools and resources to help achieve their dreams and aspirations.
“Women entrepreneurship plays a key role in creating jobs and driving economic growth. As a bank, we firmly believe that creating equal opportunities for women in business is not only a question of gender equality but also an economic priority. It is through networking forums such as InspireME, that women entrepreneurs can receive the holistic support they need to build their leadership capabilities in addition to financial solutions that we avail to them.” said Ms Wasunna.
A 2020 International Trade Centre (ITC) study on the impact of COVID-19 on businesses in 136 countries indicated that nearly 62 per cent of women-led small businesses were severely impacted by the crisis and that women-owned business were 27 per cent more likely to close because of the pandemic.
“The pandemic has made the need to support women’s entrepreneurship more urgent than ever. It is on this premise that we curated the SHE business proposition to bridge existing gaps and needs that were accelerated by the pandemic while also addressing the emerging needs of modern woman entrepreneurs,” added Ms Wasunna.
Since the launch of the SHE Business proposition in 2021, more than 20,000 active women customers have been impacted by the initiative. This has been realised through a partnership with like-minded institutions such as Melanin Kapital, Unilever, Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI), IFC’s Sourcing2Equal, GIZ and the African Guarantee Fund (AGF) to provide financial and non-financial support to women entrepreneurs.
The InspireME event was attended by top women leaders including Gina Din Corporate Communications Founder and Executive Chairperson, Ms Gina Din Kariuki, Protel Studios Founder Ms Sara Migwi, NAYA by Africa Founder and CEO, Ms Nana Ama Yankah and Sylva Group of Companies Founder and CEO, Ms Sylvia Banda who shared the entrepreneurial journeys, triumphs and lessons.